July 12, 2009

The first night of family camp

The good news is . . . no one was hurt. I'll just start by saying that.

I'll also say that if it hadn't been for the torrential rain yesterday morning, you might be hearing about this on the news, rather than just reading it on my blog.

Last night was the first night of family camp, and the first night is notorious for some sort of disaster. Usually, the disaster is something along the lines of network crash, power outage, etc. I mean, you add a couple thousand people to our grounds and something is bound to go wrong, right?

About 10 minutes before the service last night, I was walking Jack in the stroller toward the nursery so that Kyle and I could go attend the service. As I was walking, I passed someone I know (imagine that . . . someone I know at family camp) and she said, "How are you holding up? Everything going ok?" I responded affirmatively and started thinking about how, even though this had been a REALLY rocky start to family camp, we hadn't had any major disasters. And it was like I said it out loud . . .

Because within 30 seconds, there was a call on the radio from Dave saying that he heard on his scanner that 911 had been called from the camp about a trailer fire and he needed staff to help him locate where it was. Gulp.

I don't think anyone with a radio at that point (with the exception of maybe, Chuck, our assistant director who was there for the whole thing) really knew how bad it was. I heard Kyle say that he had located the fire in the back 40 (lovely) and all I could think was "GREAT. NOW GET OUT OF THERE."

I listened but knew I couldn't do anything . . . I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant and had a 2 year old in a stroller. So, I just listened on the radio, prayed and kept on my way to the nursery.

It was around then that Chuck started letting people know on the radio that we had less than 2 minutes before the trees around the trailer would catch on fire if the fire department didn't get there soon.

I stopped at the trailer to get a diaper for Jack, and I heard them saying that we needed to get a particular camper from the service up to his site NOW because his car was parked dangerously close to the fire. At that point, I didn't know how close. I didn't know how big the fire was. But I knew that I was standing next to a golf cart and my sister-in-law was standing there asking if she should take Jack.

SO, I asked her to take him, I hopped on the golf cart and sped down to the tent as fast as the governor on the golf cart would allow me to. After some searching, I eventually picked up the man and took him back . . . totally unprepared for how bad it actually was. As we drove close, the smoke was so thick, we could barely make out the fire trucks. So, I stopped and the man ran. I was getting debris in my eyes, so I backed up. The fire had basically been put out and all that was left was the scorched frame of the trailer. It was horrible.

It wasn't until later that someone was saying how lucky we were to have had that downpour yesterday morning. Things had been so dry, but the hour of torrential rain might have saved the trees from catching. If they had, we might have had an entire camping area to clear out and a much more devastating loss.

Kyle said that the worst part for him was watching the family watch their trailer (which they had purchased THE DAY BEFORE) and everything in it just crumble. I mean, it's a trailer . . . not their home, and no one was hurt . . . but still, it was devastating for them. Think about how many personal belongings you might bring if you were to go camping in a trailer for 10 days.

I was proud of our staff. The fire was out, the fire department left and our staff had (what was left of the) trailer loaded onto a flat bed and off the site before the service was over. And speaking as someone who watched the whole thing . . . it was not easy.

So, that was the first night of family camp . . . from my perspective. It can only get better from here . . . right?


Anonymous said...

Oh Sara, that had to be so scary! Glad no one was hurt. Hope the rest of family camp is calm and without 911 calls...

Sarah said...

That is horrible! I feel so bad for that family :( Yes, it would be devestating...even though it's not their first home, you'd still have a lot IN it, and lot invested in it. So scary. I'm glad no one was hurt. Hope the rest of family camp is all downhill....