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PICTURED: Boy, 13, who died in Oregon wildfire huddling in car with his dog to try to escape flames – Daily Mail

A husband desperately searching for his family in an Oregon wildfire has told how he was unable to recognize his wife because she was so badly burned, as it’s revealed their 13-year-old son died while clutching his pet dog.   

Chris Tofte spoke of the heartbreaking moment his wife Angela, who is now in a critical condition in hospital, told him ‘I am your wife’ as he helped her into his car and told her he was searching for his missing wife, son and mother-in-law in the Santiam Fire in Marion County Tuesday.  

The couple’s son Wyatt Tofte, 13, died Tuesday in the blaze after huddling in a car with his pet dog to try to escape the roaring flames. 

The boy’s 71-year-old grandmother Peggy Mosso was also killed as Angela tried in vain to free her from a burning vehicle.    

At least 29 people have been killed in the devastating wildfires that continue to ravage the West Coast with Oregon officials bracing for a ‘mass fatality event’ after 10 percent of the population has been forced to flee their homes and two large blazes threaten to merge around the most populated part of the state.

Chris Tofte (pictured as the search continued for his son Wyatt Wednesday) spoke of the heartbreaking moment he was unable to recognize his wife because she was so badly burned, as it’s revealed their 13-year-old son died while clutching his pet dog

Wyatt Tofte (pictured) was killed in an Oregon wildfire this week after huddling in a car with his dog to try to escape the flames

Wyatt (pictured in an undated image) died Tuesday in the Santiam Fire in Marion County, along with his 71-year-old grandmother, Peggy Mosso (center). Wyatt’s mom Angela Tofte (left) is in critical condition with full body burns

New details have emerged of Wyatt’s and Mosso’s horrifying final moments and the desperate rescue efforts of the Toftes to try to find their loved ones alive as the flames ripped through the neighborhood where they lived. 

Bereaved mom Angela was so badly burned that her husband Chris didn’t recognize her when he passed her during his frantic search to locate his missing son, wife and mother-in-law.  

Chris told the Statesman Journal he was driving into the wildfires looking for his family around 4am Tuesday when he spotted Angela on the road.  

She was wearing underwear, her bare feet were severely burned and her hair and mouth were black, he told the outlet.

He stopped to help her into his car but her injuries had left her unrecognizable from her usual self and he did not realize she was his wife, he said. 

When he told her he needed to find his wife and son, she replied: ‘I am your wife.’  

Angela and Chris both survived but Wyatt and Mosso were consumed by the blaze and their bodies discovered by rescue teams later this week. 

Their devastated family broke their silence to tell how the teenager’s parents desperately searched for their son as the flames ripped through the neighborhood where they lived. Pictured Peggy Mosso (left) and Wyatt Tofte (right)

Mosso (left) and Wyatt (center). The family spokesperson said they believe Wyatt ran and clambered inside the vehicle with his dog to try to escape the roaring flames. Mosso was found dead in a separate car that became engulfed in flames as Angela – Mosso’s daughter – desperately tried to save her from the fireball, herself sustaining full body burns

Chris Tofte hugs a friend as they search for his son Wyatt Wednesday who was not seen since the blaze ripped through the area Tuesday

Chris leads a search Wednesday for his son who was missing at the time. His body was later discovered by search teams

Chris spoke of the heartbreaking moment Angela told him ‘I am your wife’ as he helped her and told her he was searching for his missing family

The dad is seen on the phone after receiving news of Wyatt’s death on Wednesday in Lyons, Oregon

The devastated family told CNN the body of ‘kind-hearted’ Wyatt was found in a car with his pet dog Duke on his lap.  

‘After a long search for Wyatt, he was found in a car with his dog on his lap, but unfortunately, was not able to escape the fire,’ a family statement said.

The family spokesperson said they believe Wyatt ran and clambered inside the vehicle with his dog to try to escape the roaring flames.

The boy’s grandmother was found dead in a separate car that became engulfed in flames as Angela – Mosso’s daughter – desperately tried to save her from the fireball, herself sustaining full body burns.

The family paid tribute to Wyatt and Mosso and thanked emergency crews for helping in the search. 

‘Our family is devastated by the loss of our kind-hearted 13-year-old Wyatt and his beloved grandmother Peggy in the Santiam Fire in the early morning of September 8th,’ the family statement to CNN said. 

‘Wyatt, just the sweetest little boy; loved to fish, played video games, like a lot of kids, just a very sweet polite, boy. 

‘We want to thank all emergency personnel and people who helped in the search. Our family appreciates the love and support we have received from everyone during this terrible tragedy.’ 

Oregon firefighters work behind caution tape in Mill City, Oregon, on Thursday as they continue to battle the Santiam Fire

Firefighters douse embers of the Santiam Fire in Mill City Thursday. At least 29 people have been killed in the devastating wildfires that continue to ravage the West Coast

A charred swing set and car are seen after the passage of the Santiam Fire in Gates, Oregon, Thursday. Oregon officials are bracing for a ‘mass fatality event’

The charred remains of the Gates Elementary School, which was being used as a staging ground by firefighters, after the Santiam Fire ripped through it 

At least eight people have been reported dead in the Oregon wildfires although authorities are yet to confirm official figures and dozens are unaccounted for.

Marion County officials said Friday evening that rescue crews had found two more victims of the Beachie Creek fire near Salem.  

Another victim’s body was found in a home near Goodpasture Road in Vida after the Holiday Farm Fire ripped through the area.  

Fears are mounting that the death toll could climb much higher as Oregon’s emergency management director, Andrew Phelps, warned officials are ‘preparing for a mass fatality event’.

‘We know we’re dealing with fire-related deaths and we’re preparing for a mass fatality event based on what we know and the number of structures lost,’ he said.

More than one million acres and thousands of structures have been destroyed by the dozens of blazes across the state sending 10 percent of residents fleeing their homes in their masses. 

The Bobcat Fire burns down trees in the Angeles National Forest on Friday in Monrovia, California

Volunteer Elizabeth Stoltz of Heisson waters the Fort Vancouver Garden in Vancouver, Washington, on Friday

Oregon Gov. Brown said 500,000 Oregonians were in some sort of evacuation zone Friday – a slight dialing back on a statement late Thursday issued by the state Office of Emergency Management that said a half-million people had been ordered to evacuate statewide.

Dozens of people are missing in Jackson County in the south and Marion County, where a fire continues to burn east of Salem, Brown told a news conference Friday. 

Hundreds of firefighters battled two large wildfires Friday that threatened to merge near the most populated part of the state, including the suburbs of Portland, causing the city to declare a state of emergency Thursday. 

National Guard troops and corrections officers transferred about 1,300 inmates from a women’s prison in a southern suburb of Portland ‘out of an abundance of caution,’ the Oregon Department of Corrections said.

Spokeswoman Vanessa Vanderzee said it took 20 hours to transfer the inmates Thursday to another prison in a safe zone.

In California at least 20 have died and there has been at least one death reported in Washington state.  

Four people have been arrested for arson for deliberately starting blazes along the West Coast while the states are already grappling with dozens of deadly blazes. 

Michael Jarrod Bakkela, 41, was arrested Friday and charged with arson, for allegedly setting a fire in southern Oregon earlier this week, while the area was already grappling with the deadly Almeda Fire. Anita Esquivel was arrested and booked into Monterey County Jail on arson charges for starting fires in California

Two men in Washington state, one man in Oregon and one woman in California are facing arson charges, authorities said.    

Michael Jarrod Bakkela, 41, was arrested Friday and charged with two counts of arson, 15 counts of criminal mischief and 14 counts of reckless endangering for allegedly setting a fire in southern Oregon earlier this week, while the area was already grappling with the deadly Almeda Fire. 

The blaze grew to merge with the Almeda – which started about six hours earlier – and has now killed at least two people. 

Bakkela was allegedly spotted setting a fire behind a home in Phoenix around 5 p.m. Tuesday, causing the residents to flee.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said deputies arrived on the scene to find Bakkela ‘standing close to a very large fire threatening several homes.’  

Authorities said the fire started by Bakkela caused ‘significant damage’ and destroyed ‘numerous homes’.

Bakkela was arrested Tuesday for a probation violation on a charge of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and was later charged Friday in connection with the Almeda Fire. 

He is booked at the Jackson County Jail and is expected to be arraigned Monday.  

In California, a 37-year-old woman was also arrested Friday accused of intentionally starting an unknown number of fires on Highway 101 near Boronda Road around 9am Friday morning.  

Shawn Thompson hugs Melissa Vuckovich after an unsuccessful search for their missing cat, at the location of where their home once stood in Ashland Oregon

Firefighters work on a smoldering fire in a burned neighborhood in Talent, Oregon. Four people have been arrested for arson for deliberately starting blazes along the West Coast

Talent Oregon on Friday. Two men in Washington state, one man in Oregon and one woman in California are facing arson charges for setting fires in areas that were already grappling with deadly blazes

Anita Esquivel was arrested and booked into Monterey County Jail on arson charges. 

The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office later dismissed rumors that she had ties to extreme left-wing activist group Antifa. 

The Office told KION there was no information or evidence suggesting she was connected to the group. 

Two other men were arrested for starting blazes in Washington state this week, authorities confirmed.

A 36-year-old Puyallup resident was arrested Wednesday for allegedly starting a fire on State Route 167 at Meridian.

The next day another unidentified man was detained following a short cop chase on foot over a blaze the man allegedly started at State Route 512 and State Route 7.

This comes as Oregon authorities said Thursday they are investigating whether the cause of the Almeda Fire that has killed two was an arson attack after a body was discovered near the start of the blaze.

Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara announced Thursday a criminal investigation had been opened into the cause of the fire saying he believes the circumstances around it are ‘suspicious’.

Investigators are looking into the possible connection between the blaze and the death of an unidentified individual, whose body was found near the origin of the fire. 

The National Weather Service (NWS) revealed a staggering 87 percent of all wildfires that have ravaged America this year were caused by humans. 

A camp crew truck was destroyed on Stringtown Road in a Thursday evening flare-up in Oroville, California, which burned over the truck in the Bear Fire

Boaters pass by the Seattle skyline during hazy air conditions on Friday morning as smoke pollution from wildfires raging in California and across the Pacific Northwest worsened in San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon

Farm equipment is seen through heavy smoke on Friday in Molalla, Oregon. Multiple wildfires grew by hundreds of thousands of acres this week, prompting large-scale evacuations throughout the state

With the prevalence of human-caused fires and the current unrest the nation is grappling with, state and national authorities have been forced to deny unsubstantiated rumors that have surfaced online that wildfires have been intentionally set by extreme right-wing or extreme left-wing groups. 

The FBI said Friday that it’s investigated several claims and found them to be untrue, while officials in Oregon and Washington state have turned to Facebook to knock down the competing narratives – some posts blamed far-left antifa activists and others claimed the far-right group the Proud Boys was responsible for the fires scorching wide swaths of the region.  

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Friday that the blazes were proof of the perils of climate change, denouncing the ‘ideological BS’ of those who deny the danger and vowing Friday to accelerate the state’s already ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gasses.

‘The data is self-evident, the experience that we have in the state of California just underscoring the reality of the ravages of climate change,’ he said. 

‘Mother Nature is physics, biology and chemistry. She bats last and she bats one thousand. That’s the reality we’re facing, the smash mouth reality – this perfect storm. The debate is over around climate change.’

Newsom warned that ‘unless we get our act together on climate change, unless we disabuse ourselves of all the BS that’s being spewed by a very small group of people,’ then time to take action will be lost.

Newsom noted that just in the last month, California had its hottest August, with world-record-setting heat in Death Valley. 

It had 14,000 dry lightning strikes that set off hundreds of fires, some that combined into creating five of the 10 largest fires in the state’s recorded history.     

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PICTURED: Man, 45, struck by a falling Confederate statue during protests in Virginia – Daily Mail

A Virginia man who was struck by a falling Confederate statue during a protest flatlined twice on the way to the hospital and was placed in a coma, according to his wife. 

Chris Green, 45, of Portsmouth, was one of the hundreds of Virginians who descended onto the streets Wednesday to protest police brutality and the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died while in police custody. 

Protesters rallied at the Confederate monument in Olde Towne Portsmouth after the City Council earlier that night put off decisions on potentially removing the statue.  

Confederate monuments and statues have become targets for protesters, many of whom believe such statues should be removed due to their association with slavery and racism.

Chris Green (far left, pictured with his wife and children) was hit in the head by a Confederate statue when protesters in Portsmouth, Virginia, pulled down the monument 

Some people used bolt cutters and hammers to chip away at the statues while four Confederate statues were beheaded.

The mood was celebratory – a marching band even arrived with an impromptu performance – but that came to a halt when a Confederate statue yanked down with a rope suddenly fell on top of Green around 9pm, 13 News Now reports. 

Green lost consciousness soon after his head was cut open. Police officers watching the protests moved in to provide medical attention before the father-of-two was rushed to a nearby hospital for life-threatening injuries.

Fellow protesters knelt as Green was whisked away and eventually dispersed at the request of officers.

Protesters reportedly used bolt cutters and hammers to chip away at the Confederate monument, as well as used rope to pull down one of the statues (pictured)

Organizers of the protest claimed Green was hit after trying to get other individuals to move out of the way. 

Green’s wife, Tonieh Brisbane-Green, said her husband of 13 years flatlined twice while being taken to the hospital.

Tonieh, who was not at the demonstration that night, said she supports the protests, ‘but do it in a peaceful manner.’

‘There was no need to do all of that especially while there were so many people around that statue knowing that somebody’s going to get hurt,’ said Tonieh. 

She added that she’s troubled that protesters that night ‘didn’t think’ when they pulled down the century-old statue. 

Protest Organizer Rocky Hines said Green was trying to move people from away from the falling Confederate statue when it fell over

According to Tonieh, the extent of Green’s injuries were so bad that doctors ‘were surprised he even made it because that thing [the statue] is so heavy.’ 

Green was fortunately reported to be in stable condition as of Thursday night wrote The Virginian-Pilot but Tonieh is still in a state of shock.

‘I just feel like I’m in a dream right now. Like, I just need to be pinched to wake up and everything will go back to normal,’ she said. 

She’s also unsure of how the incident even happened. So far, she’s been told that her husband’s back was to the statue when it toppled over.

‘So he didn’t even see it coming, like, “Oh, let me move out of the way,”‘ said Tonieh. ‘And then I heard it was hard for the ambulance to even get to because of the crowds.’

Tonieh Brisbane-Green (left, pictured with Green) chastised protesters, saying: ‘There was no need to do all of that especially while there were so many people around that statue knowing that somebody’s going to get hurt’

Rocky Hines, one of the organizers of the Wednesday protest, set up a GoFundMe account for Green the following morning. 

‘We are responsible for this, and we need to right it in whatever way we can,’ Hines told The Virginian-Pilot.

Hines said Green had been at there for much of the protest and he felt compelled to help after hearing so much about him. 

‘I apologized on our behalf, and she (Green’s sister) said he doesn’t want anyone upset with us,’ said Hines. ‘His family is not upset, they are hurting.’

Green is in stable condition, but still hospitalized as he recovers from his injuries, said Sgt. Michelle Anaya, spokeswoman for Virginia State Police.

Hines added that Green is ‘not quite out of the woods,’ but said he was responding to neurological tests.

The GoFundMe has raised $32,822 of its $40,000 as of Friday morning. 

‘It was an accident,’ said Hines. ‘What his family needs is prayers, not people saying he knew the risk.’

Even though Green was injured during Wednesday’s demonstration, Hines said the protests aren’t stopping anytime soon.

‘I do think we need to be more mindful of each other’s health and safety going forward,’ he said. 

The Portsmouth Police Department requested an investigation into how Green was injured and if any charges will be filed, according to CNN.  

Tonieh has not decided if she will pursue legal action against the city. 

The Confederate monument was covered in paint and graffiti on Wednesday before they were further damaged later that night

Pictured: The Confederate monument in Portsmouth, Virginia, before it was damaged during a protests on Wednesday

Portsmouth Mayor John L. Rowe, Jr. praised officers for containing vandalism during Wednesday’s protest to a single area in an effort to protect civilian lives and private property. 

‘We can repair the monument, but an injured body carries that scar for life. We can repair the monument, but we cannot bring back a life – if one was lost because of our escalating the event by the use of force,’ said Rowe.   

Rowe continued to say that the city if mourning the death of George Floyd, but the nation must come together to dispel racism and prejudice.  

Mayor Kenny Alexander of Norfolk, which is just minutes away, asked for safety and peaceful protests in the city. 

‘An individual was seriously injured in an attempt to remove a statue in Portsmouth. We are praying for his full recovery and hope that this incident will not be repeated,’ Alexander said.

In 2017, the Portsmouth City Council adopted a resolution to relocate the Confederate monument to a local cemetery when laws permit the move. Rowe said the resolution is still in effect. 

The Confederate monument sits in a site where slaves were punished on a whipping post. 

Pictured: a protester holding a sign reading ‘No Justice, No Peace’ at the protests held Wednesday in Olde Towne Portsmouth

Earlier that day, Portsmouth City Council expressed concerns over citizen safety after protesters climbed and spray-painted the monument. 

‘I watched several videos today that showed individuals climbing on the monument,’ said Councilman Nathan Clark.

‘If one of those had fallen off onto that new fence that is there and impaled themself and seriously injured or killed, I would believe that the city would have the lawsuit filed against us. ‘ 

The Virginia General Assembly passed a bill allowing local government  the authority and specified process of moving monuments.

A public hearing must be conducted by a local government. A public hearing regarding the Confederate monument was scheduled for July 28.     

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