Baby girl and her grandparents killed in tragic South Dakota house explosion
A tragic scenario unfolded Wednesday near Fort Pierre, South Dakota, when a house explosion resulted in the deaths of a six-month-old girl and both of her paternal grandparents, as Fox News reports.
Also in the home at the time of the incident were the little girl's two brothers, Myles, 5, and Royce, 3, both of whom suffered severe burns and reportedly remain in critical condition.
Horrifying Explosion Kills Three
According to the Daily Mail, the explosion at the home on Highway 1806 in Stanley County occurred at roughly 10:20 a.m. Wednesday, leveling the entire structure and leaving only some playground equipment standing on the property.
At the residence at the time were Ladonna Hupp, 61, her husband, William Hupp, 66, and their aforementioned three grandchildren, whom they were presumably babysitting while the youngsters' parents, Kelsey and Trevor Hupp, were at work for the day.
Sadly, Ladonna Hupp and infant Harper Hupp were reported dead at the scene, and though William Hupp was taken to Avera St. Mary's Hospital, he ultimately died from his injuries.
The young boys were airlifted to a Minnesota burn unit, where they were both intubated and placed into critical care.
“Don't Stop Praying”
The children's mother, Kelsey Hupp, herself a nurse practitioner, provided updates on the condition of her young boys, writing on a Caring Bridge page set up for that very purpose, as Fox News noted.
According to Mrs. Hupp, Myles sustained primarily first- and second-degree burns on approximately 10% of his body.
Kelsey Hupp explained of her five-year-old's current status, “He squeezes my hand and wiggles his toes. He even fought sedation one time and sat up and looked around. He is stable,” and she said that three-year-old Royce, who suffered more severe burns on 25% of his body, “is also intubated and will be longer than Myles.”
Striking an incredibly optimistic tone in the midst of such heartache, Kelsey Hupp added, “The boys have a long road ahead of them, but we are just so thankful that we even have this road with them. They are strong and will persevere,” adding, “[p]lease don't stop praying. I'm going to need every ounce I can get to continue. We love our family, friends and community so much.”
Community Rallies Around Family
According to Fort Pierre radio station KCCR, the local community has witnessed an outpouring of concern for the Hupp family and is marshaling support in the wake of their unthinkable personal tragedy.
A GoFundMe page has been established to provide resources to help the Hupps, with more than $400,000 already raised as of Friday morning.
First Dakota National Bank has also set up an account to receive additional donations on behalf of the family, and contributions are being collected by a number of local businesses as well.
Given that the family also lost their home and everything in it in the explosion, their needs will undoubtedly be significant, and donations of tangible goods such as clothing, food, and household items are also being sought for their benefit.
Investigation Continues, Well Wishes Grow
Though foul play is not suspected in what thus far appears to simply have been a catastrophic accident, Stanley County Sheriff Brad Rathbun told Fox News Digital that an investigation into the explosion is ongoing, with the South Dakota State Fire Marshall's Office at the helm.
The incident did not take place in Fort Pierre proper, and while its mayor, Gloria Hanson, wanted to respect the delicate situation facing the Hupp family by not offering much in the way of specifics about the blast, she did offer words of support.
Hanson said, “The investigation is still ongoing and there is a lot of privacy involved for the family, and I just hesitate to make any public comments at this time.”
“It's a small close-knit community, and there are already lots of things going on to support the family, and we just share our love and prayers with them, and we will continue to support them as they walk this path,” Hanson added, echoing the sentiments of many in South Dakota and beyond.