In little more than 15 minutes, Ed Bledsoe lost three lives that meant the world to him: His wife, and their two great-grandchildren.
Bledsoe left his home in Shasta County, California on Thursday to go to the doctor, he told CNN.
The Carr fire had been burning for four days at that point. Bledsoe said he did not realize the fire was coming into his neighborhood — and told CNN his family was never told to evacuate their home.
His 70-year-old wife Melody called him and told him she could see the fire. She told Ed to come get her and their great-grandchildren, 4-year-old Emily Roberts and 5-year-old James Roberts, who Ed Bledsoe called “Junior.”
“I said ‘I’m on my way.’ So I just throwed down everything and took off,” he said.
Bledsoe said he could not take his usual route home because it was so congested in the fire area. He left his car and tried to get home on foot, but said he was stopped.
“I took off running down there (toward his house) and I helped some guy that got burnt … I got him and helped him out of there and when I got back down there the fire was — the fire was … just intense.
“But I still tried to get down in there and they come and stopped me and wouldn’t let me get down in there,” he told CNN.
Bledsoe said he got back in his car and took an alternate route, but could not get to his house. He said his sons were trying to get to the house but could not enter, as the flames were so intense.
In those final minutes, Bledsoe contacted them by phone. He broke into sobs as he described the final words he spoke to his grandchildren.
“He just kept saying ‘Grandpa, come and get me,” Bledsoe said, referring to 5-year-old James. “‘The fire’s coming in the back door. C’mon Grandpa.’ I said ‘I’m right down the road.'”
His granddaughter and wife were also on the phone, he said to CNN.
“Emily says, ‘I love you, Grandpa.’ Grandma said ‘I love you, Grandpa …’ Junior said, ‘I love you … come and get us … come and get us …’ I said ‘I’m on my way … ‘ He talked until he died.”
“I tried to call them back and it just went to nothing,” Bledsoe said as he wept. “Poor babies and my wife …”
Read more on CNN.com.