Girl from NW Suburban Cary Killed in Devil’s Lake State Park, WI; Identity Released Monday After Tree Fell in Storm Sunday

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Monday morning, authorities released the identity of Allison Spahr, as the 11-year-old girl from Cary, who was killed Sunday when a tree fell on her tent in a Wisconsin state park. Thunderstorm winds toppled a large tree onto a tent where she and two family members were sleeping. The two family members, her father and brother, were transported to St. Clare hospital with minor injuries.

Allison Spahr was pronounced dead at Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin, shortly after rescuers were called to the scene about 4:00 a.m. Sunday.

Allison’s 51-year-old father, Kevin R. Spahr, was pinned under the tree, but was not seriously injured. Allison’s brother, Kyle Spahr, age 13, like his father suffered minor injuries. Both were treated and released.

“From all outward appearances, it was a mature, healthy oak tree,” said Bob Manwell, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “It was toppled over, torn out from the roots.”

The family was sleeping at camp site 435 at Devil’s Lake State Park — located in central Wisconsin between Madison and Wisconsin Dells. No other storm-related injuries were reported at the 9,200-acre park where 355 campsites were occupied, according to park officials.

Park Superintendent Steve Schmelzer said that the incident is the first death from a falling tree or falling branches during the two decades he has worked for the park. The Oak tree, which appeared in good shape before the incident, was uprooted — torn out of the ground from the base of the tree.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources released a statement regarding safety at the campsite, “Visitor safety is the No. 1 priority on all properties the department manages, and we do our very best to provide a safe environment for our visitors. Campgrounds are inspected regularly and action is taken to eliminate potential hazards whenever possible. Unfortunately, not all possible events can be foreseen.”

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