OTIS, Ore. – High winds toppled a towering evergreen tree onto a house near the Oregon coast, killing an 8-year-old girl who was inside, authorities said Wednesday.
Zaylee Schlect was taken to a hospital, but she could not be saved. The girl’s father, a volunteer firefighter, was working Tuesday and responded with other crews to the 11:15 p.m. call in the town of Otis that a girl was trapped.
About 18 firefighters cut limbs with chain saws and pulled them away to free Zaylee. She had been sleeping in her bedroom that she shares with her younger sister, who was not injured, when the tree smashed into the one-story home. Zaylee’s two younger brothers and her mother were also in the home and were not injured, Capt. Jim Kusz of North Lincoln Fire & Rescue said in a statement. Red Cross volunteers assisted the family with temporary housing.
Kusz said he estimated the tree to be around 70 feet high and 42 inches across. He said it was downed by high winds that also brought down power lines and other smaller trees in the area.
“We had very high winds here last night, and snow on the coast, which is a very rare event,” Kusz said over the phone.
Pam Farrar told KGW-TV said she heard the crash and then people screaming to call 911. She tearfully told the station she feels bad because she told a little girl her sister was going to be OK.
The winter storm downed trees throughout the state on Tuesday.
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