Columbia County's Girl Scout camp is several cots short this week after a fire destroyed two cabins.
After Girl Scouts checked in June 13 for a week at Camp Tanglewood, two of the cabins in a back unit caught fire about 6:30 p.m.
All of the scouts, including the four assigned to the cabin, were at the main lodge when a counselor noticed the fire and called 911, site manager Steven Dennison said. No one was injured.
An investigation determined the fire was accidental, said Wayne Whitaker, a spokesman for the State Fire Marshal's Office. A motor seized in an electrical fan inside one of the Scout cabins, starting the fire that spread to a nearby counselor cabin.
All that is left among the charred remains of the decades-old wooden structure are the concrete foundation blocks, stairs and the remnants of the metal beds. The counselor cabin was moderately damaged, Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue spokeswoman Honey Shore said.
Wall-mounted oscillating fans provide ventilation for the cabins at the rustic camp, which has been in operation by the Girl Scouts since the 1940s. It is the site of at least a month of weeklong camps each summer and activities year-round. The camp also is rented out by private groups, Dennison said.
The 10-cabin Holly Road unit has been closed to campers as a precaution.
Debbie Bradberry, the assistant director of the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, said she hopes to have the cabins rebuilt and ready for campers by next season.
Camp officials are accepting donations to help rebuild the cabins. Monetary donations will be accepted, as will labor and materials.
"The community has been wonderful," Bradberry said, adding that the camp has already received calls from several individuals and business owners wanting to help.
The camp runs off donations and grants, and Scouts raise funds to attend camp.
Even without donations, insurance should cover the damage. But officials are considering options to upgrade the camp, making it more comfortable and safer for scouts. Bradberry said they'd like to replace fans in all the cabins, which aren't covered by insurance.
"If there was someone who wanted to help out with that, that would be wonderful," she said.
For information, to volunteer or to make a donation, call Camp Tanglewood at (706) 863-0764 or e-mail Bradberry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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