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Fire Claims Ohio Campground's Office

The grounds at Terrace Lakes Campground, New Waterford, Ohio.

An early-morning fire Sunday (June 26) destroyed a multipurpose building at the Terrace Lakes Campground on state Route 7 near New Waterford, Ohio.

Lisbon Fire Chief Dave Lewton said the building served as an office, concession stand, laundry, restroom and recreation room for the camping facility and was fully involved when firefighters arrived on the scene just after 4 a.m., the Salem News reported.

"It could be seen 2 1/2 to 3 miles away," Lewton said of the blaze, which he said was reported by a resident.

Although the cause and origin of the fire was not yet known, Lewton said he does not consider it suspicious and said he is still investigating.

With two large lakes located on the property, Lewton said access to water was unlimited as firefighters battled the blaze for more than two hours.

The Lisbon department responded with three trucks and nine firefighters and received mutual aid from Negley Fire Department, which also sent three trucks.

Trying to keep a positive outlook as she looked over the charred rubble of what yesterday was an active clubhouse at Terrace Lakes Campground, Beth Smith thanked God no was hurt and recounted her blessings regarding what could have happened.

According to Smith, the main building housed the office, showers, laundry room, game room and pavilion, and all was lost in the blaze. Even though the records, registrations and reservations were destroyed, Smith wants to assure everyone that the family owned and operated business is open, and the planned Fourth of July activities are still on track for the holiday.

The campground is owned by Smith's mother-in-law, Joan Hineline. This is the 18th season for their family at Terrace Lakes. Smith believed the clubhouse was probably between 25 and 30 years old but had been added on to and remodeled over the years.

"What we will miss the most are the things that campers have given to us over the years. Those can't be replaced. Mom will miss all the little things," she said. "Whatever mom needs, we'll get her through it," she repeated. She also recalled how each time you look at the damage with someone you remember what was sitting here and there.

"It's amazing how much you collect over the years," she stated.

Smith's brother-in-law, Kris Smith, discovered the fire shortly after 3:30 a.m. when he was coming in from the garage, and they called 911. Negley, New Waterford and Lisbon fire departments responded, finding the building engulfed upon their arrival.

Beth Smith said the building is insured and as soon as the adjuster arrives the family is ready to get busy clearing away the debris so that everything is ready for the Fourth of July.

Smith said an emergency phone line is being installed, and everyone can reach them online at www.terracelakes.net. Only the electricity to the clubhouse is off; the rest of the campground is fine. With a final look at the destroyed two-story building she said, "You find out how much good is out there when something like this happens, so many people have offered to help us clean up or with whatever we need. We'll get through this."

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