Massive Overnight Fire as Dining Hall Erupts in Flames, Camp Keystone, Florida Division

July 22, 2013 - 4:27 PM EDT
Christopher Priest
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Various summer camp programs at the Camp Keystone (Florida Division) continue despite Saturday morning's three-alarm fire that destroyed the camp's largest building -- its dining hall.

The Florida Fire Marshal's office, which is still trying to determine the cause of the blaze, says the fire started in the laundry area of the building and caused an estimated $3 million in damage.

More than 300 campers and staff were sleeping when a Bradford County deputy discovered the fire about 2 a.m.  Two-dozen fire crews from Bradford and Clay counties and the city of Starke assisted in fighting the three-alarm fire that destroyed the building.

Those campers in a cabin closest to the dining hall were evacuated.  No one was injured in the fire. The dining hall, originally built in the mid 1970's, has undergone renovations in the last few years, but is now a charred shell.

The annual Music Conservatory final concert went ahead as planned with a capacity audience from parents and friends around the division. One counsellor was reported to say to the media "They were singing & dancing in the tabernacle just like nothing ever happened." On Saturday morning breakfast consisted of Pop Tarts and juice. The counsellor also stated "so the day is going on fine." The Jacksonville Area Command canteen arrived and served through the weekend.

Later on Sunday, a 53 ft mobile feeding kitchen rolled into Camp from the Divisional EDS base in Tampa. The kitchen, having seen service at hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, will now provide meals for campers and staff for the remainder of the camping season.

Please pray for Captains Platt the newly appointed DYS's; Tony & Pam Bellis, camp caretakers, staff and campers at Keystone.