Wyatt Tofte was a 13-year-old Oregon boy who died while holding his dog in the midst of an Oregon wildfire. He is credited with heroically going back to try to save his grandmother from the blaze. Tragically, she died too.
According to CNN, the child perished with his grandmother in the Marion County, Oregon, blaze. Her name was Peggy Mosso.
Both Wyatt and Mosso died in a burning car, CNN reported, as Wyatt’s mother tried to save them. The mother is in critical condition. A relative, Ashley Tofte, wrote on Facebook, “Wyatt went back with his dog to save his Grandma. His last moments were heroic and full of love, together with his grandmother and his puppy.”
Here’s what you need to know:
A Family Statement Expressed Grief & Described the Boy as ‘Kindhearted’
The family statement, given to CNN, read, “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 shared this Christmas video of Wyatt.
Lonnie Bertalotto wrote a tribute to Wyatt on Facebook, writing, “The Lions Head fire took the life of many people today including my mom Peggy Mosso and nephew Wyatt Tofte. It also left my sister seriously burned and in Legacy ICU. Don’t take anything in life for granted and make the best of everyday.” The post included a series of family pictures.
According to the Statesman Journal, the father is”the grandson of the creators of Enchanted Forest in Salem.”
A GoFundMe Page Was Set Up to Help the Surviving Family Members
A GoFundMe page set up to help the surviving family members (the parents of Wyatt) has raised more than $136,000.
The page gave a lengthy accounting of what happened.
“On Tuesday, September 8th, the lives of Chris and Angie were changed forever,” it says, referring to Wyatt’s parents. “A devastating wildfire surrounded the couple’s home in the early hours of the morning, and despite the heroic efforts of Chris and Angie, Angie’s mother, Peggy, and the couple’s 13-year-old son, Wyatt, were killed by the fire. At first, Wyatt was missing and there was hope, but 2 days later he was found in a car, with his dog in his lap and had not survived the Santiam fire.”
The page continued:
What we know happened…the power was out and Chris had left to get a generator. Angie awoke to flames surrounding their home. Grandmother Peggy had broken her leg a week earlier and was awaiting surgery. Angie had loaded her mother in the car and by the time she got Wyatt and the animals, the car was surrounded by flames. Knowing it was life and death and there was no way to drive the car out or save her mother, Angie told her 13 year old son Wyatt to run. It was pitch black outside except for flames and smoke. However, Wyatt did not keep going to safety, and instead went back to the car and tried to drive his grandmother out of the flames. The road was so hot, it burnt the tires up. He was a heroic boy, trying against all odds to save his grandmother. All this happened while his father Chris was desperately trying to get back to his family. Blockades had been set up and in desperation he ran the blockades. He found a woman on the road, her clothes burnt away, feet burnt to the bone, unrecognizable. He put her in the car and said he was sorry but he had to keep going to save his son and wife. Her mouth was black and was not able to speak, but finally whispered “I am your wife.” After desperate searching, the car was found 2 days later with Wyatt in the driver’s seat with his dog in his lap and his grandmother in the car.
Mossa Was Described as a Devoted Grandmother & Wyatt as Strong, Brave & a Lover of Trains
The GoFundMe page gave details on the personalities of the victims. “Peggy was a devoted grandmother who always had a smile on her face and always had kind words to give. Wyatt was a kindhearted, strong and brave young boy who was fascinated by trains and loved to go fishing,” it reads.
“Angie survived the fire but suffered full-body burns and is currently in critical condition at the burn center in Portland. Her road to recovery will be a long one and will be further complicated by the devastating loss of her mother and child.”
The page adds:
The couple’s home and possessions are gone. The medical costs from Angie’s physical injuries will be enormous, plus the funeral expenses for Peggy and Wyatt. Chris and Angie’s life will never be the same. While no amount of money can bring back Peggy and Wyatt, our family would be incredibly grateful for any help you can provide. This fund will help Chris and Angie deal with the extreme financial devastation this event has caused.
This fundraiser is organized by the Tofte family, Susan Vaslev and Mary Tofte, who are Chris Tofte’s aunts and Tyler Vaslev who is Chris Tofte’s cousin. Funds raised will go directly to Angie and Chris for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and replacing everything they have lost. Chris and Angie will be the sole beneficiaries of this account. They will be added as soon as they are able to deal with this tragedy.
Read more details about the tragic family loss from the devastating Oregon fires in this Statesman Journal story. What happened as told by Capi Lynn of the Statesman Journal