The fire Monday night at a campground owned by a Christian group in the Knox County town of Washington destroyed six buildings, including a dining hall and kitchen, dormitory, three small cabins and a children’s chapel.

Crews from eight fire departments responded to the blaze at Washington Advent Christian Camp on McDowell Road at 7:38 p.m., according to a post on the Washington Fire Department’s Facebook page. They were able to contain the blaze by 11:54 p.m.

The camp was vacant when the fire started, and no one was injured during the response, according to a news release from Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The fire began in the two-story dormitory before spreading to the other structures located nearby, McCausland said.

The fire’s cause has not been determined, McCausland continued, “as the building of origin was completely destroyed.”

The campground was not operating for a week before the fire, but all utilities were still connected, McCausland said. Investigators continue to interview witnesses about the blaze.

The Washington department was assisted by crews from Appleton, Hope, Jefferson, Liberty, Somerville, Union and the Knox County Emergency Management Agency.

Several members of the Christian group that owns the camp surveyed the damage Tuesday morning, including Darrell Young, president of the Washington Advent Christian Camp Meeting Association.

While the property is insured, Young was skeptical about whether all the losses would be covered by the group’s plan. He said the greatest loss from the fire was the dining hall, which included several industrial-grade pieces of equipment.

“They’re underinsured, I’m sure,” he said of the properties. “We’re looking at our policy. They’re not going to cover the replacement, for sure. We haven’t thought about repairs. We have to speak with the insurance company.”

More than 50 buildings stand on the property, including a number of small cottages that are used by members of the association throughout the summer, Young said. The organization also holds two weeks of summer camp in early August.

The association had been planning to hold a retreat in the early fall but canceled it because of the fire damage, Young said.

While Young said a member of the State Fire Marshal’s Office came to the site Tuesday, he was unaware of the results of the investigation.

Another member of the association who was at the camp Tuesday, 71-year-old Sandra Colburn of Rockport, said she has been going there her whole life. The organization probably will have to find the money to replace and repair the fire-damaged buildings, she said.

“We will be here next year with bells on,” Colburn said. “The board will figure out what’s going to happen. We’re probably going to have to raise some money, but God will supply. He always takes care of our needs.”

Charles Eichacker can be contacted at 621-5642 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: ceichacker

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