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Fifty people injured in deck collapse at Presbyterian camp

Glacier Presbyterian Camp was hosting memorial service

by Gregg Brekke | Presbyterian News Service

The collapsed deck at Glacier Presbyterian Camp’s Spruce Lodge. Taken Saturday, June 17, 2017. (Photo by Mathew Borlandelli, Somers/Lakeside Fire Department)

LOUISVILLE – Fifty people have been treated for injuries after a second story deck collapsed Saturday afternoon at Glacier Presbyterian Camp on the west shore of Flathead Lake, 100 miles north of Missoula, Montana. Six of the injured people were airlifted to hospitals in the region. One critically injured person was later transported to a hospital in Seattle.

The camp is owned by Glacier Presbytery, which issued the following statement late Saturday on its web site. “Please join us in praying for the injured and their families. We are grateful to all of the EMTs/Paramedics, fire departments and first responders who came to our aid. We ask for your prayers for all involved.”

A group of around 50 had assembled on the deck at Spruce Lodge for a 2:00 pm celebration of life service to remember William Nickel, a Flathead Valley firefighter who died April 20.

No cause has been established for the collapse, and area authorities say they will not pursue a criminal investigation.

“It was not a crime, so we won’t be investigating it,” Lake County Sheriff Don Bell told the Associated Press on Sunday. “It’ll be handled between the property owner and the people who got injured yesterday.”

“We continue to pray for those injured in Saturday’s accident and for their families and the medical teams caring for them,” said Marsha Anson, General Presbyter and Stated Clerk of Glacier Presbytery. “We are very grateful to the first responders and staff members who helped the injured. An investigation into the accident has already begun. As a precautionary measure, we hired a contractor to inspect other camp structures to ensure safety.”

Brian Frick, PC(USA) associate for camps and conference centers, and a Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team are en route to the camp to provide support and assistance to those affected.

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