Massive Overnight Fire at Camp Keystone as Dining Hall Erupts in Flames

Massive overnight fire at Camp Keystone

The massive overnight fire at Camp Keystone (Florida Division) that destroyed the camp’s largest building—its dining hall—on Saturday did not prevent various summer camp programs from continuing.

The Florida Fire Marshal’s office, which is still trying to determine the cause of the blaze, says the three-alarm fire started in the laundry area of the building and caused an estimated $3 million in damage.

More than 300 campers and staff were sleeping when a Bradford County deputy discovered the fire about 2 a.m. Two-dozen fire crews from Bradford and Clay counties and the city of Starke assisted in fighting the massive overnight fire at Camp Keystone that destroyed the building.

Those campers in a cabin closest to the dining hall were evacuated. No one was injured in the fire. The dining hall, originally built in the mid 1970’s, has undergone renovations in the last few years, but is now a charred shell.

The annual Music Conservatory final concert went ahead as planned with a capacity audience from parents and friends around the division. One counsellor was reported to say to the media “They were singing & dancing in the tabernacle just like nothing ever happened.” On Saturday morning breakfast consisted of Pop Tarts and juice. The counsellor also stated “so the day is going on fine.” The Jacksonville Area Command canteen arrived and served through the weekend.

Later on Sunday, a 53 ft mobile feeding kitchen rolled into Camp from the Divisional Emergency Disaster Services base in Tampa. The kitchen, having seen service at hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, will now provide meals for campers and staff for the remainder of the camping season.

Please pray for Captains Platt the newly appointed Divisional Youth Secretaries; Tony & Pam Bellis, camp caretakers, staff and campers at Keystone.

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a broad array of social services that range from providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to