REDDING, Calif. (KGO) -- Close family friends of Melody Bledsoe and her two great-grandchildren, James and Emily Roberts, are brought nearly to tears at recalling how much joy the children brought to the world.
"James wanted to be his great granddad. He's a man with suspenders and he wanted suspenders. ... James said all he wanted for Christmas was a chainsaw so he could help his grandfather. His sister just lighted up a room and she'd play with all the kids," family friend Jason Decker said.
Decker and Donald Kewley also remembered the horror of their deaths in Redding, Calif., at the hands of the Carr Fire.
"It just happened so fast. They found her draped over the children. That goes to show, she did everything she could till the very end," Decker said, referring to great-grandmother Melody Bledsoe.
Thursday, before the flames reached the Bledsoe home near Redding's Keswick Estates, Melody's husband of nearly 30 years, Ed, had gone out to buy supplies and help others whose homes were threatened by the flames.
A nearby neighbor recalled how swift and strong those flames were. They seemingly came from nowhere.
"We could see flames coming from one side and our fear was we were going to get trapped," Christi Dodson said. Her own home was not affected.
In what seemed like that blink of an eye, it was too late. A gas line burst into flames and consumed the Bledsoe home, along with several other homes nearby. What remains now are the memories and the need to help a widower get back on his feet.
The family wishes there had been an evacuation order for their neighborhood. The believe had one been enacted, they could have avoided this tragedy. The Shasta County Sheriff's Office recommends always erring on the side of caution and evacuating even if there is no official mandate.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help Ed get back on his feet.
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