(Ontario, CA) January 10, 2022 – It was a snowy evening during Christmas week in Winlock, Washington and Haylee Laur was babysitting two of her youngest siblings while her parents were out picking up a new washer and dryer. Haylee, 15 was in the living room while her sisters played in other rooms when she smelled smoke. Turning to the source down the hallway she saw flames leaping from the closet that held the home heating system. Haylee had to run past the flames to get to the youngest, her sister, three-year-old Elijah (Ellie). With Ellie in her arms she made sure the other child at home, four-year-old Madison also got out. Once outside with the others they realized their beloved Pug Buddy, (who has a bad leg and trouble walking) was still inside. Crawling to avoid the smoke she went back into the house and rescued Buddy.
All the kids were barefoot and the baby, Ellie was in just a diaper. Haylee picked up the two babies and carried them barefoot through several snow covered pastures to reach a neighbor’s home for shelter and while doing so called in the fire to 911. Reaching the safety of the neighbors, Haylee on the phone with emergency dispatch called her mother and informed her where they were and about the fire. By the time fire rescue arrived in the form of the Toledo, Napavine and Chehalis fire response, the home was fully engulfed and could not be saved. Everything the family owned except the clothes on their backs were completely destroyed. The family has struggled to find help since the disaster and the children are spread among several relatives while the rest of the family has been staying in a local hotel. The family needs a rental that they can afford and right now does not have the funds to come up with a first and last rental payment and security deposit.
“I don’t even know how to begin to pick up the pieces, we are all still in shock and just trying to get through each day,” said Haylee’s mom, Nichole Johnston. “Haylee’s my hero. I am so proud of her; she saved the children’s and the dog’s life. So we certainly have that to be thankful for. The house is gone, we are financially ruined, but all my children are alive and well – that is a blessing.”
Maglite will honor Haylee with the MAGLITE ® Tough Award at a ceremony at the VR Lee Community Building, 221 SW 13th Street in Chehalis at eleven a.m. on Thursday, January 13th. The entire family will be on hand as well as community members and representatives from Maglite.
“We are proud to honor Haylee for her heroic actions and hope that along with the support that we can give as a company that others in the community and beyond will see the news coverage of this event and be moved to help this family in any way that they can,” said Anthony Maglica, Founder and CEO of Mag Instrument Inc. the company behind the iconic Maglite flashlight brand.
About Mag Instrument:
Mag Instrument, manufacturer of the MAGLITE® flashlight, is proud to be a U.S.A. manufacturer. Each flashlight is a result of an obsession with fine engineering, craftsmanship and a commitment to perfection. Founder, owner and President Anthony Maglica has guided his company’s growth from a one-man machine shop in 1955 to an enterprise that has proudly employed thousands of American workers since it produced its first flashlight in 1979. For more visit: http://maglite.com/
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Lou Desmond for Mag Instrument, Inc.