Camp Barnabas cabin lost in blaze

Wednesday, December 23, 2020
A firefighter holds his position to attempt to extinguish a large structure fire at Camp Barnabas. One cabin was lost in the blaze, but firefighters were able to stop it from spreading to other structures. Mike Gervais/Cassville Democrat

Embers from burn pile blew under structure, causing fire

Camp Barnabas at Teas Trail lost a girls cabin to a structure fire on Tuesday after some winterizing clean-up efforts went awry.

Monett Rural, Pierce City Fire and Monett City Fire responded to a call of a structure fire at Camp Barnabas in rural Purdy at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Monett Rural and Monett City Fire responded to a report of a structure fire at Camp Barnabas Tuesday afternoon and knocked down a raging inferno that completely destroyed a girls cabin. Mike Gervais/Cassville Democrat

Firefighters arrived to find a fully engulfed structure fire. Crews worked for several hours to contain the blaze and ensure it did not spread to other areas of the camp.

In all, one girls cabin was totally destroyed.

Monett Rural Fire Chief Jeff Owens said a total of eight firefighters from the three responding agencies fought the blaze. Crews were able to clear the scene at about 5 p.m.

“Nobody was in the building at all, and there were no campers,” Owens said. “Nobody was hurt.”

Becky Conroy, director of marketing and public relations at Camp Barnabas said maintenance employees were working on cleaning and winterizing the camp, which includes burning leaves. Some time after noon, winds shifted and embers from a burn pile were blown under one of the cabins, which ignited the blaze.

“We will take this opportunity to rebuild and continue to serve the disability community,” Conroy said. “Our thanks to the Monett Fire Department and their quick response time and containment so that no additional damage occurred.”

Camp Barnabas was created in 1994 to offer a summer camp experience for people with a range of disabilities. Over the years, it has welcomed nearly 90,000 campers and missionaries who serve them.

Each summer, the camp sees 12,600 campers and 2,400 youth.

“Camp Barnabas at Teas Trail will be ready to welcome campers and missionaries alike on May 30 for our 27th summer of providing a life-changing summer camp experience for individuals with special needs and chronic illness,” Conroy said.

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