Tuesday night January 3rd a tree fell across a trailer home of a family in Otis. Fire crews responded with chainsaws and rescue gear and recovered 8-year old Zaylee Schlecht just after 11 p.m. She was taken to Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, where she was later pronounced deceased. Approximately 18 firefighter lifted and cut limbs with chainsaws to free the girl who was sleeping in her bedroom that she shared with her younger sister who was not injured when the event occurred. The home was also occupied by Zaylee’s two younger brothers and her mother. Red Cross volunteers responded to the completely destroyed home to immediately assist the family housing with temporary housing. She was a third grade student at Taft Elementary and her father is a volunteer with North Lincoln Fire and Rescue.
When students and staff at Taft Elementary return to school, a crisis response team will be in place to help them through the process of grieving for the loss of a third grade student this week. Director of Elementary and Special Education Susan Van Liew said the school community is grieving this unspeakable loss. Using the crisis response process, a care room will be established to help support students at Taft Elementary, and staff meetings will be held at all three Lincoln City schools. The crisis response team will remain at the school as needed to help the school community heal. A go fund me account has been set up in Zaylee’s name to help with the costs of damages to the home and funeral expenses. You can donate by going to www.gofundme.com/rip-zaylee.