The Camp Fire

I went back and forth and back and forth. Should I write about this? OR should I leave it alone? Some of my closest friends kids go to this camp. I thought if this was my son’s camp, would I want someone talking about this news? And then it hit me. This could have happened at Zach’s camp just as much as it could have happened at ANY camp. Pontiac is not to blame…these things happen.  If you have no clue as to what I am talking about this is the quick recap:

Sunday night at 3:30 am, a fourteen year old girl woke up when she noticed her fan turned off. Apparently she is a very light sleeper and noticed all the fans in the bunk were also off.  She saw a fire in the wall and woke everyone else up.  Luckily all 28 people in the bunk made it out safely and nobody was hurt. PHEW! This is so scary and it really hits home to ANYBODY who has a child at camp.

This is the video that was launched on youtube about the fire


After watching this I began to think – how safe are our children in a wood bunk with all these outlets? Do all the bunks have smoke detectors? (they should and I am assuming they do). I have to be honest I never even thought to ask that question on my camp tour!

I came across ANOTHER story that happened at Camp Keystone in Bradford County, Florida in July of this summer. It occurred overnight as well but in the dining hall. Nobody was hurt, however it was Bradford County’s largest fire in recent history and it left all the campers without a dining hall.


It really is a miracle that nobody got hurt at either of these camps. Maybe this is a wakeup call to ALL camp owners over the winter to re-check every bunk for faulty wires, etc.  I know this is part of every camp owners job and I am positive this is not taken lightly but sometimes things fall through the cracks. I am no expert when it comes to fires, electricity, or what the codes are for outlets in a bunk but this is a HUGE SAFETY ISSUE and one that must be top priority.  I know this is EVERY camp owners worst nightmare and I cannot imagine how the owners of both camps are handing this ordeal. I believe Pontiac has not commented yet because they do not have a 100% cause of fire. Whatever caused it, I am certain they are taking every precaution to make sure this never happens again. Pontiac has been around for a very long time with an incredible support system and staff, if anyone is going to do their due diligence, it’s Pontiac!

Truthfully I am just so relieved that everybody is okay and we will all see those smiling faces in just a few short days!





Share Your Thoughts

  1. Tamara

    Hi…I have friends who send their kids to Pontiac, and I have been friends with the guys who run the place for 10+ years. They handled it beautifully. They had the parents come up and see their girls. And let me add this. You just can’t control everything. You could have an electrical fire in your own house. Are you going to get rid of all your outlets? My husband grew up in Livingston. His house burned down when it was struck by lightning. His brother (all ok) was in the house. You have boxes in the basement? A furnace? Cleaning supplies? Maybe some leftover paint? All flammable.

    As for that video…talk about ultimate sleaze. It was taken by a volunteer fireman!!! And posted before all of the parents were even called! That guy is a major DB in my opinion.

    Like you, I can’t wait until they come home tomorrow!

    August 9, 2013 • 7:09 am •
  2. Amy

    Exactly! Could have happened anywhere!!! I had a friend whose house burned down, same thing electrical fire. I do think every camp needs to be careful to monitor how many things can be plugged in at once (fans, ipods, hair dryers, curling irons, etc). Some camps only allow battery operated fans to cut down on the power usage. I agree about posting the video before the parents were called if that is true. Can’t wait until tomorrow!

    August 9, 2013 • 7:12 am •
  3. Jodi

    Every camp is Inspected by their state before each season and there are surprise inspections throughout the summer as well. Having a smoke detector and fire extinguisher in each bunk is mandatory. Pontiac has no citations for violations and passed inspections this summer. After the fire they had every bunk re-inspected and everything was up to code. This is a terrible thing that happened and thankfully noone was hurt. This is the perfect example to remind our children why fire drills are so important!

    August 9, 2013 • 7:56 am •
  4. Amy

    Thanks for the info Jodi! Yes fire drills super important!

    August 9, 2013 • 7:58 am •
  5. So funny…I grew up in a town where everyone (but me) went to camp and I now live in a town where everyone goes. I never thought too much about safety, but when we looked at camps all of the directors talked about and showed us all the safety precautions, inspections etc. and I never thought about it again. I really didn’t. Most of my co-workers don’t send their kids to sleepaway camp and when I tell them my son is away for 7 weeks, after they get over their shock and hide the fact that they now think I’m a horrible person, the FIRST thing they ask me is “are you sure it’s safe?”. I must be ridiculously laid back or something, because until this post Amy, I never thought about any of it. But my answer is YES, I’m sure it’s safe. Stuff can and will happen to our kids at home, in school at camp etc. So…we breathe and send them on their way and hope for the best.

    August 9, 2013 • 8:31 am •
  6. Ron Kaniuk

    Great post,, and great comments. My daughter, niece and nephew are all first-year campers at Pontiac and had a great summer, and the management/staff did a great job communicating with us about the incident. I had been wondering who took the video and posted it on-line, and agree with the earlier comments that the individual who did so is a DB (wasn’t his job to be fighting the fire, not videotaping it). Fires can happen anywhere; I’m glad no one here tried to be a hero and battle the blaze on their own, and appreciate everything the camp did afterwards (and before, to make the camp safe and have the staff prepared to deal with emergencies like this)

    August 9, 2013 • 9:59 am •
  7. me

    You are mad because he posted a video of the fire????? No one was hurt so I don’t understand why it makes you mad. The news posts stories all the time before families are aware of events, sometimes even as the event is happening. In this day and age videos are up on you tube 5 minutes after they happen. People always have to find a reason to get mad about things.

    August 9, 2013 • 10:54 am •
  8. Missy

    How about sprinklers in the bunks. Seems like a no brainier????

    August 9, 2013 • 11:08 am •
  9. Pamb

    @me, I think the reason people are upset that video was posted was because the camp probably hadn’t even notified the parents yet! Plus, some parents might not want video of their kids on you tube, so that everyone knows where they are at camp. Yes, video is now posted minutes after things happen. That doesn’t make it right. A lot of people want to be able to say “I was there FIRST, and here’s proof” , like the volunteer firefighter, who perhaps should have been concentrating on his job.

    August 9, 2013 • 11:32 am •
  10. Tamara

    @pamb…I didn’t say I was mad b/c he posted a video, I said he was a DB for posting it. If I got mad at every DB in the world today I would live a short life indeed. I’ve always tried to act as I would want others to act towards me. Would you want that video posted if it were your kids?

    August 9, 2013 • 2:30 pm •
  11. Tamara

    I used my “@” wrong. That was supposed to be @me

    August 9, 2013 • 2:31 pm •
  12. roy

    lets give the DB “volunteer fireman” some big time credit for being around and available at 3am to battle the blaze and save other lives and property.

    August 10, 2013 • 8:00 pm •