A fire at Camp Simcha, a camp for children with cancer, destroyed one bunkhouse and damaged a newly built one.
The camp made news last week when an El Al plane on the ground in Tel Aviv took the unusual step of returning to the gate for a camper who had previously been removed from the flight for losing her passport.
The fire was discovered when a counselor at the camp in Glen Spey, New York, woke up early Saturday morning and smelled smoke. The counselors evacuated the 15 residents of the cabin, including one camper in a wheelchair, VIN News reported.
The entire camp then was evacuated to a helicopter landing field near the camp. Several people were treated for smoke inhalation.
Firefighters believe the cause of the fire was electrical, VIN reported.
Donors to Chai Lifeline, the organization that sponsors the camp, are sponsoring a visit to a local shopping mall to help the campers in the destroyed bunk replace their personal items, according to the report. The camp season ends Tuesday.
Last week, an El Al plane carrying 30 Israeli children headed to the camp turned back to the gate at Ben Gurion airport to pick up a young cancer patient who had been taken off the plane when she couldn’t find her passport.
The passport of the passenger, 11-year old Inbar Chomsky of Rehovot, had been found inside another child’s backpack, and the airline took the step, called extraordinary, of sending the flight back to the gate to pick her up.
In August 2001, a major early morning blaze at the camp similarly destroyed several structures. No students were injured in that incident, either.