MARION COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - A grandmother and young boy were killed in the Santiam Fire on Wednesday, with a family member saying both died while trying to escape the flames.
Cousin Coby Bertalloto on Wednesday night shared details and photos of the family members he lost. He said his aunt was badly burned in the fire and is now in the hospital.
Bertalloto didn’t want to appear on camera but said he wanted to share more about the lives of the family members that be loved dearly.
According to family members, 12-year-old Wyatt Tofte and his grandmother, Peggy Mosso, died while trying to escape the Santiam Fire that ripped through their home in the North Fork area of Mehama.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office earlier on Wednesday confirmed that two people were killed in the fire, with Sheriff Joe Kast reporting that a search-and-rescue operation took place Wednesday.
Family members said the boy and grandmother were found dead inside their car next to the family home.
Bertalloto said his aunt was taken to the hospital in critical condition and he’s not sure how she is doing now. As for his cousin, Bertalloto described Tofte as kind of shy and a kid who loved video games and fishing. Bertalloto said his grandmother, a long time area resident, “loved everyone with all her heart and was an amazing person who was always happy.”
The Enchanted Forest confirmed the deaths on Facebook and reported that Tofte was the great-grandson of Roger Tofte, the park’s founder.
Incident commanders said the Santiam Fire has burned around 159,000 acres. Links to county evacuation information can be found here.
Kast said he believes there will be more deaths connected to the fires.
"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of these people," he said.
Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday said about the fires around the state, “This could be the greatest loss of human life and property due to wildfire in our state’s history.”
MORE: Coverage of wildfires
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