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Fire-ravaged camp to reopen

Posted June 13, 2010
Updated June 14, 2010

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Camp Riverlea in Bahama will open Monday after the camp's main building was destroyed by fire nearly a month ago.

Neighbors of the camp, off South Lowell Road, reported seeing smoke and flames during the early morning hours of May 14. Within an hour, the main lodge, known as "The Shire," had burned to the ground, firefighters said.

"How are we going to start camp in three weeks, that was the first thought I had (after the fire),” Camp Riverlea owner Joe Harris said Sunday.

Harris has since rented a large tent that will serve as a temporary main lodge for the campers.

"We are ready, which is amazing,” Harris said.

Harris also had to replace equipment that was lost in the fire, such as canoes, kayaks, archery tables and ping pong tables.

"The biggest thing is that the community has helped greatly," Harris said of getting the camp ready.

The campers will also have other much-needed structures thanks to the efforts of camp counselors.

"They made 30 picnic tables and 60 benches in one week," Harris said.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire but do believe it was intentionally set.

The camp is still waiting on permits to rebuilt the main lodge and hope to break ground on the new structure sometime this fall.

The summer day camp opened in 1970. It hosts about 140 children a day from the Durham and Chapel Hill area in three sessions throughout the summer.


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