Langford Helping Family After House Fire

A Langford family lost nearly everything in a house fire last Thursday, but the community is rising to the occasion to help a neighbor in need.

Lexi, Sami, and Tim Wika, children of Mark and Missy Wika of Pierpont, were leaving school that day and saw smoke coming from the home of McKayla Hesse and Andrew Olson. Two of McKayla’s children – a second and fourth grader - were also on their way home from school.

The Wika kids told the two Hesse children to not go in the house, and while Lexi and Sami tried to calm the youngsters down they called 911 and Tim went into the house to make sure nobody was inside. McKayla and the other children were in Britton getting groceries.

“The Wika kids did a good thing and are kind of the heroes of the story,” said family friend Paula Jensen of Langford.

The Langford Fire Department and the North Marshall Fire Department of Britton responded to the call. The house was just over a block from the Langford Fire Hall, so response was immediate at about 3:40 p.m.

Firemen were on the scene for about four hours. The fire is suspected to have started in the living room from a likely electrical problem. The kitchen, living room, and bedroom were burned pretty badly, and the rest of the home sustained severe smoke damage. The only room not affected was the bathroom because the door was shut.

The family is in the process of meeting with an insurance adjustor to see if the house is salvageable.

Eight of McKayla’s children, plus a grandchild, had been living in the house with Hesse and Olson. They are now temporarily living with Andrew’s parents, Tom and Mary Olson.

Meanwhile, the community has stepped up to help.

The Langford Area School held a Hat Day on Tuesday. All the kids that wanted to help were asked to pay $1 for the right to wear a hat during school. At basketball games last night Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday hoops shots and bingo are planned as fundraisers, and the Red Cross provided some funds last weekend.

For those wishing to help, a GoFundMe page has been established (Hesse-Olson house fire), and a house shower to help replace household items like sheets, pillows, and pots and pans is planned in the near future when the family finds new home accommodations. The family has registered at Target.

“When I talked to McKayla on Sunday she said they had plenty of clothes and had pretty much everything they need to survive,” said Jensen. “We’ve seen people rise up.”

Jensen said that Hesse came to Langford just over seven years ago, leaving the Rosebud Reservation because she did not want her kids to grow up in the reservation environment. She earned her CAN license and worked to buy the house. The family had just put in new flooring and purchased new cupboards for the home.

“She is a good mom and has made a good life for herself,” added Jensen. “And she’s a survivor. The family will make due with whatever comes their way. It will all work out.”

Marshall County Journal

PO Box 69, Britton, SD 57430
Phone: (605) 448-2281
Fax: (605) 448-2282