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State

Girl, 12, dies after snow fort collapses near church

CHICAGO – A 12-year-old girl who was playing in the snow with a friend died after a fort they had built by a suburban church collapsed on top of them Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

The girl was playing with a 9-year-old girl near Rothem Church in Arlington Heights when the snowbank fell on them, the Arlington Heights Police Department said in a news release.

The 12-year-old was pronounced dead about 4:30 p.m. at Northwest Community Hospital, police said. The younger girl was treated for hypothermia and remains at the hospital. She is expected to survive, said Sgt. Charles Buczynski.

The girls were at church with their families and went outside to play, police said. When an hour had passed and the girls hadn’t returned, the families went outside to look for them and found them buried in the snow.

Relatives and church members had pulled the girls out of the snow by the time police and fire crews arrived about 2:40 p.m., Buczynski said.

“It’s just a tragic accident,” Buczynski said.

It’s not clear how long the girls were trapped in the snow, Buczynski said. No one witnessed the collapse, he said.

It was about 14 degrees in Arlington Heights while the girls were outside, according to the National Weather Service.

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