A goodwill effort at Camp Barnabas became a greater challenge yesterday morning when a cabin collapsed during a demolition effort.
Monett city and Monett Rural firefighters responded to a call for assistance from the camp around 11 a.m. Barry-Lawrence Ambulance crews assisted, as well as Highway Patrol Trooper Gary Horton.
According to Cyndy Teas, Camp Barnabas co-founder, a group from Heritage Baptist Church in Oklahoma City visits the camp every spring to do a project. The group, composed mostly of young people, arrived on Sunday, and asked to take on demolition of one of the old cabins.
The construction of new housing for campers made the old cabins unnecessary. Four cabins have been kept mostly for historical purposes. One remained that was scheduled for demolition. Located near the camp office building, it was one of the original structures erected in the 1930s by the founders of what was then Camp Sylvania, which at the time provided horseback recreation, largely for Chicago clients.
The church group "wanted something manly to do," Teas said. Fourteen started work on the building and were working around it when the structure collapsed. Four jumped clear, leaving 10 inside when it fell.
No one was trapped in the structure. Firefighters dispatched with the initial call continued to the scene as a safety precaution.
Teas said three were transported from the camp to area hospitals and released. The other seven with minor injuries were taken into town by private vehicles to be assessed by doctors as a precaution.
Firemen made an effort to minimize the impact of the experience on those present. Shane Anderson with the Monett city department took the younger children from the church group away from the scene to give tours of the fire trucks so that they would be less alarmed by the flashing lights.
"We had no problems with the other buildings," Teas said. "It could have been a whole lot worse." Nothing comparable to this incident had occurred in the history of Camp Barnabas. Teas stressed safety has always been of paramount importance, especially in creating a reliable camping experience.
This coming weekend the first campers of the year will arrive for "Barna-break," a spring break experience. Teas said everything would be ready for their arrival.