Campers tried to save girl hit, killed by fallen tree

10:46 AM, Jul 5, 2011   |    comments
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NEAR SPOONER, Wis. -- The fourth of July is anything but a holiday for some people in western Wisconsin.

They continue to clean up from Friday night's powerful storms, which damaged buildings, downed trees and cut power to thousands.

Outside of Spooner, Wis. the storms claimed the life of an 11-year-old girl.

On a beautiful holiday weekend, it's easy to be fooled. Even campers who watched it happen still can't believe how quickly the sunny sky changed.

"It happened so fast. It was just here," says camper Kim Larson.

A sudden storm turned a holiday celebration into a day the folks at a campground near Spooner wish they could forget.

Their children and grandchildren were playing and then out of nowhere, it seemed, a storm forced campers to rush for shelter.

The 11-year-old girl was stopped by a fallen tree.

"It snapped 20 feet and just came down so fast," says Kim.

Kim remembers how everyone tried to save the little girl. First her mother gave the girl CPR and then Kim.

"Everybody came together. We're all family and all your children play together. Who would have thought that it would happen in a playground?" says Kim.

In all, 39 people were injured in Friday's storm. And on the 4th of July there is no rest for people cleaning up after 80 mile per hour straight-line winds damaged houses and downed trees. Grantsburg was hit hardest.

"We've been three days now, just cutting, trying to get things secured," says Phil Brenizer of Grantsburg.

The storm caused damage to several counties across northwest Wisconsin. As of Monday afternoon more than 3,000 households were still without power.

Back at the campground folks were getting ready to head back home Monday, leaving behind a weekend that changed their lives forever.

"She was somebody's beautiful little girl and now she's an angel," says Kim.

Authorities are not yet releasing the identity of the girl who was killed Friday night.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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