A Monday night fire destroyed six buildings at a campground owned by a Christian group on McDowell Road in Washington, including a dining hall, dormitory, three small cabins and a children’s chapel.

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Crews from eight fire departments responded to the blaze at Washington Advent Christian Camp at 7:38 p.m., according to a post on the Washington Fire Department Facebook page. They were able to contain the blaze by 11:54 p.m. Monday night.


The camp was vacant when the fire started, and no one was injured during the response, according to a news release from Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The fire began in the two-story dormitory before spreading to the other structures which were located nearby, said McCausland.

The cause of the fire has not been identified, McCausland continued, “as the building of origin was completely destroyed.”


The campground was not operating for a week before the fire, but all utilities were still connected during that time, McCausland said. Investigators continue to interview witnesses about the blaze.

The Washington department was assisted by crews from Appleton, Hope, Jefferson, Liberty, Somerville, Union and Knox County Emergency Management Agency.

Several members of the Christian group that owns the camp were surveying the damage on Tuesday morning, including Darrell Young, president of the Washington Advent Christian Camp Meeting Association.

While the property is insured, Young was skeptical all the losses would be covered by the group’s plan. He said the greatest loss from the fire was the dining hall, which included several industrial-grade pieces of equipment.

“They’re under-insured, I’m sure,” he said of the properties. “We’re looking at our policy. They’re not going to cover the replacement, for sure. We haven’t thought about repairs. We have to speak with the insurance company.”

More than 50 buildings sit on the property, including a number of little cottages that are used by members of the association throughout the summer, Young said. The organization also holds two weeks of summer camp in early August.


The association was planning to hold a retreat in the early fall, but decided to cancel it because of the fire damage, Young added.

While Young said a member of the state fire marshal’s office came to the site Tuesday, he was not aware of the results of the investigation.

Another member of the association who was at the camp on Tuesday, 71-year-old Sandra Colburn of Rockport, said she has been coming there her whole life. The organization will probably have to find the funds to replace and repair the fire-damaged buildings, she said.

“We will be here next year with bells on,” Colburn said. “The board will figure out what’s going to happen. We’re probably going to have to raise some money, but God will supply. He always takes care of our needs.”

Joe Phelan contributed reporting to this story.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642


Twitter: @ceichacker

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