‘I will always miss my son’: Family shares story of grief, recovery following wildfire that killed their child and unborn baby

RENTON, Wash.– It’s been just over a year since a Washington wildfire killed a family’s one-year-old son and unborn baby.

Jake and Jamie Hyland say what has kept them moving forward through all the difficult times have been hope and support. The couple is still recovering from the severe burns they got while trying to outrun the Cold Spring Fire.

The Hyland family loves adventures. That’s what they were doing when they got caught in the fire. They were visiting from Renton, camping on their property over Labor Day weekend last year in Okanogan County when the Cold Springs Fire came bearing down. They first tried to escape in their truck, but then had to go on foot.

Jamie told 4 News Now they tried to run to the river, thinking it was their safest bet. But, the flames just came too quickly.

“We were in the fire for a short amount of time and then the fire continued on past us and we were left there in poor condition,” Jamie said.

Jamie and Jake took turns carrying their son Uri out of harm’s way. They walked down the river, hoping they could make it somewhere somebody could save them.

“Our son, he kind of looked around and was like ‘oh, uh oh’ he realized this isn’t good. He said “dada” and he said “mommy”–and those were his three last words,” Jamie said.

As they kept running, Jamie said Uri kept opening his eyes then went back to sleep. She said his eyes got a little more “glazed over” each time.

Once the family was safely out of the flames, they fell asleep. She knew he was slipping away.

“He was barely breathing anymore,” she said.

When they woke up, Uri was dead.

“There was nothing traumatic about that moment. It was a very peaceful moment. What’s traumatic is waking up every morning for the next year with him gone. He should be here,” she said.

Jamie loved being a mom and losing both her son and unborn child shortly after Uri devastated her. Her heart is still heavy after the last year, missing Uri greatly.

“I will always, always miss my son. And, I will always, always be just as sad when I need to stop and think about him and cherish my memories and dwell in that place of imagining like his third birthday is coming up, what he’d be like as a three-year-old,” Jamie said.

Jake and Jamie dealt with the loss of their kids all while trying to recover from third-degree burns of their own. They’ve both had to go through about 16 surgeries each and months of physical therapy. That’s all on top of the lifetime of grief.

There are still things they can’t do normally to this day. It took about five months of physical therapy for them to be able to curl all their fingers, Jamie said.

“I am miserable a lot, but I try to choose to see what I can still be happy about,” Jamie said.

She added that they still don’t know how much functionality they’ll still have with their hands, saying that they’re still waiting to see once all their surgeries are done.

Jamie said they are hoping to have more kids someday through surrogacy. Jamie said there was an infection and they had to do a dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure following her miscarriage. She said they can still have biological children, it’d just have to be through surrogacy.

Now, they are trying to look toward the future as they continue to heal from everything that happened last year.

“On the one side, there’s the extreme grief that I’m just going to break down and I’m going to cry and I feel numb as I go about my life, but on the other hand, there’s the reality that, I’m here on earth and I’ve got to make the best of what’s left,” Jamie said.

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