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Family grateful for rescue attempt after grandmother dies in Ramona house fire

Family grateful for rescue attempt after grandmother dies in Ramona house fire
Posted at 3:51 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 20:47:47-05

RAMONA, Calif. (KGTV) - Loved ones are grieving the loss of a disabled grandmother who died in a house fire in Ramona earlier this week.

Monday morning, around 2:30 a.m on Telford Lane. As flames erupted inside the home of 61-year-old Debi Hester, she called 911.

“She was frantic. She wasn't able to tell the paramedics and the fire department what her address was,” said Jason Hester.

Her son, Jason Hester, says she suffered from chronic hip issues and had been bedridden for about a year.

On the morning of the fire, deputies arrived in the general area within a few minutes and discovered the fire. Witnesses say as she screamed for help, deputies tried several times to reach her, only to be blocked by the flames and heat.

“They were trying to call for her to crawl. They found her on that floor. She made an attempt to get out of bed and crawl on the floor. They found her in the hallway, about 10 feet from the front door.

When first responders finally reached her, they performed CPR, but she died at the scene.

“Just that fact that she was in — God, so much pain — and so scared. Just breaks my heart,” said Jason.

Jason says her mother, who loved Thanksgiving and Christmas, was a caring and bright woman who insisted on living independently.

“She was determined to live on her own … She was a wonderful mother and grandmother. Just always thinking about other people and already had presents for the grandkids,” said Jason.

He says her last moments will haunt him, and he feels for the deputies who tried to rescue her.

“My heart breaks for them. Just imagining her yells and screams disappearing in the fire, that had to be so hard for them.

Jason delivered this message to those rescuers.

“Just absolute heroes. They weren't able to save my mom and that's okay. I thank them for their efforts,” said Jason.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but Jason was told it may have started in a bathroom, where a window air conditioner was located.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses and expenses related to the fire.