DNR Identifies Girl Killed in Tree Fall at Wisconsin Park

Girl identified as 10-year-old Allison Spahr

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ten-year-old Allison Spahr from northwest suburban Cary was killed early Sunday when the tree fell on her tent during a storm in Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin. NBC 5's Anthony Ponce reports.

    A 10-year-old girl from northwest suburban Cary was killed early Sunday when a tree fell on her tent during a storm in Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin.

    Rescue crews responding about 4 a.m. found the girl, identified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as Allison Spahr, and her 51-year-old father, pinned underneath a tree that had fallen on their tent overnight during the storm at Devil’s Lake State Park, near Baraboo, Wisconsin, said Steve Schmelzer, superintendent of Devil’s Lake State Park.

    A 13-year-old boy, identified as Kyle A. Spahr, was able to climb out of the tent unharmed, Schmelzer said.

    The girl was pronounced dead at the scene, Schmelzer said. The man, identified as Kevin R. Spahr, and his son were both taken to St. Clare Hospital in Baraboo, where they were treated and released, Schmelzer said.

    Kevin Spahr spoke to NBC 5 Monday about his devastating loss.

    "I can hear that sound over and over. That creaking, cracking sound," Spahr said. "It landed across my daughter's chest. The coroner doesn't think she even woke up."

    Spahr describes his daughter as a sweet and active girl with a love for the outdoors.

    "She's the life of the party. A girly-girl in a certain sense, a tomboy in the other sense," Spahr said.

    Allison was home-schooled and her family has attended Harvest Bible Chapel in Crystal Lake. Through their heartbreak, the Spahr family is turning back to their faith.

    "I believe two things strongly -- God is sovereign, and God is good," Spahr said.

    "It's a fluke in a freakish sense, but it didn't catch God off-guard."

    No one else was injured during the storm at the park, Schmelzer said.

    The Department of Natural Resources, which is investigating the incident, said the outward appearance of the tree "showed no evidence of weakness during prior regularly scheduled campground inspections."

    The department expressed sympathies to the family in a statement.

    “Visitor safety is the number one priority on all properties the department manages and we do our very best to provide a safe environment for our visitors,” according to the statement from the DNR. “Campgrounds are inspected regularly and action is taken to eliminate potential hazards whenever possible. Unfortunately, not all possible events can be foreseen.”