At 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening November 13, 2016 a fire was discovered in the Belk Dining Hall at Camp Grimes. The fire department was called immediately and arrived on the scene within minutes to find the structure fully engulfed in flames. The fire department worked to save the open shelter and to keep the fire from spreading to other parts of camp. The extent of the damage is substantial.
As an organization we are thankful that no one was injured. We are also grateful for the efforts of the firefighters from across McDowell County that responded to the call. McDowell County fire investigators, the SBI and ATF have wrapped up their investigation and concluded that the fire was accidental, no criminal act or arson was detected and it originated in the kitchen.
The memories built over the last 40 years are steeped deep within our community and this is a tremendous emotional loss to our Scouting family. Structures can be rebuilt, but we lost items that can never be replaced. Lost were the original hand carved entrance signs to Camp Grimes erected in 1976. Many neckerchief slides hand carved by Gene Grimes were also lost. The memorabilia has taken decades to gather, but we know deep inside we will begin to build our new memories and traditions.
The Dining Hall at Camp Grimes was built 40 years ago. It was built to serve summer camp and be closed for the balance of the year. It was not an insulated building nor did it have heat or A/C. Since the council has grown significantly over the years, we use this building much more and our use is year- round.
The plan we have is to expand the dining space to accommodate a larger number of campers, have heat and A/C, refurbish and update the entire open shelter along with updating the trading post, Scoutmaster area, laundry facility, and indoor climbing wall program area. In addition, the flag plaza area will be upgraded along with the entrances to the entire central complex. We were lucky that the open shelter did not sustain major damage and will not have to be completely rebuilt.
All of these renovations to the central dining complex along with the new dining hall are estimated to cost $3,500,000. We should receive approximately $1,000,000 from our insurance policy. To complete this project and set ourselves up for the next 50 years we will need to raise $2,500,000.
We know we have thousands of volunteers and alumni that want to help. We have set up a go-fund-me site with a goal to raise 20% of the need. Of course we hope this will not impact anyone's traditional annual FOS giving. Gifts can be made through the site or mailed in directly to the council office marked Camp Grimes dining hall.
I am confident we will get it done and continue the wonderful legacy of Camp Grimes.
Many thanks to everyone that has reached out to share their thoughts, prayers and concerns for our Scouting family.