Massive damage at E. Alabama camp following fire - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Massive damage at E. Alabama camp following fire

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

LAFAYETTA, AL (WTVM) - Officials at an east Alabama camp are looking for answers after a fire did more than a half million dollars in damage.  The fire destroyed the dining hall at Camp Marannook in Chambers County early Monday morning.

The Alabama State Fire Marshal has been called in to investigate what they are calling a "high dollar loss."

Investigators were out at the site all day Tuesday trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Camp officials say with the woods surrounding the dining hall, they feel blessed that the fire was contained to this one building.

Woody Harmon, a former camper, explained, "How hot the fire got to warp the steel, yet it was contained within the small grounds it was in and did not reach out and really devastate this whole property as dry as it has been."

Fire officials estimate the flames got as hot as 1600 degrees.

Firefighters from Hughley and Lafayette, the Chambers County Sheriff's office, and ATF worked together.

Dogs sniffed through the derbies and ashes for any accelerants. And, staff and counselors are being interviewed. "We are going through the fire scene itself to see what the fire scene can tell us and then try to marry the two together so we can hopefully come up with an origin and cause," said Scott Pilgreen, Assistant State Fire Marshal.

Woody Harmon was a camper 35 years ago, when he heard about the fire, all he could think about was his daughter, "First thing to my mind, to be honest, is that my daughter is supposed to be here in a week or two. What can I do to make sure they do not cancel camp for her?"

In their 36th year of camp, the owners say they do have plans to rebuild.  "It is a tragedy, but out of the ashes we will rise," said Charles Kendrick-Holmes.

The investigation will continue until a cause is found.

And for now, camp is running like normal. 



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