SEBAGO – While Tropical Storm Irene’s high winds and rain made power outages commonplace throughout the Lakes Region this week, most homes were spared damage. The same could not be said, however, for a camper owned by a Massachusetts couple that was staying at Nason’s Beach and Campground in Sebago, where a tree literally cut their camper in half Sunday.

The midsize camper, owned by Matthew Fletcher and his fiance?, Crystal Remedis, was parked among tall pine trees on the north shore of Sebago Lake when a double-trunk tree from a neighboring property split at about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Fletcher described the damage as a “camper bomb.”

“It was just devastating,” added Remedis.

The camper was located away from the beach near several other campers. Fletcher and Remedis had evacuated the area about five hours earlier to an open area on the Nason’s Campground property, as had their neighbors. The couple spent the time playing card games and talking with another family, Don and Kathleen DeGrandis, also from Massachusetts, who were riding out the storm and watching what Fletcher described as “a wild Sebago Lake.” At about 6:30 p.m. someone came to tell Fletcher that a tree had fallen near his trailer, so the couple went to investigate.

As they approached, they “saw the awning flapping and we knew that wasn’t a good sign,” said Remedis.

As of noon Monday, the couple had only managed to salvage a few items from the trailer, primarily because the tree was still settling on the metal wreckage. Also, there was the smell of propane, likely from a damaged propane tank connection. Fletcher said the camper is not insured but he is hoping the damage will be covered by the neighbor’s insurance, since the tree fell from an adjacent property.

“I’m just glad we’re alive,” Fletcher said.

So are their neighbors. The DeGrandis’ camper was also damaged by the tree, and on Monday they were dealing with their insurance agent.

“It’s going well,” Kathleen DeGrandis said. “We don’t have any power and there’s some damage, so I guess we’re going to be roughing it for a while. But this is our vacation. We’re on vacation this week. At least no one got hurt.”

While much of the brunt of Tropical Storm Irene had passed by
mid-afternoon Sunday, a tree smacked down on top of a camper parked
at Nason’s Beach and Campground in Sebago at about 6:30 p.m. No one
was injured, and the day after the storm the camper’s owners
Matthew Fletcher and his fiancé Crystal Remedis, at right, were
joined by their neighbors, Kathleen and Don DeGrandis. The tree
that destroyed Fletcher’s camper also damaged the DeGrandis’
camper, which was parked about 20 feet away. (Staff photos by John
Balentine)


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