Scout troop forced to flee Colorado fire

June 29, 2013

Devin Dunn had just finished earning his emergency preparedness merit badge at the Spanish Peaks Boy Scout Ranch in Walsenburg, Colo., last week when a real by-gosh emergency struck.

Dunn and other members of Granbury Troop 353 were forced to flee with their Scout leaders because of a raging 60-acre fire that brought billows of smoke and ash raining from the sky.

All eight boys and four adults made it out safely, but the Troop’s trailer, and a Scout leader’s Suburban, did not.

Scoutmaster Stacy Cummings said that the Granbury Optimist Club, which has already been sponsoring the Troop, decided at its meeting Tuesday morning to help the Troop recover its losses.

Consumed in the fire were the Scouts’ uniforms, tents, other camping equipment and their travel money – about $1,000 in cash.

The loss totalled about $5,000, Cummings said.

Tad Timmons, president-elect of the Optimist Club, said that anyone who would like to donate camping equipment to the Troop can drop items off at the club’s meeting Tuesday morning. The meeting will be from 6:30 to 8 a.m. at the Granbury Church of Christ across from the high school.

Monetary donations can be made out to the Optimist Club with Troop 353 written on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to: P.O. Box 473, Granbury, Tx. 76048.

Cummings was unable to go on the trip, but her husband, Kevin, and her 16-year-old son, Marc Dine, went. Dine was among five of the older boys who were hiking up the mountain with two Scout leaders when the evacuation occurred at the camp below.

“The boys that were hiking weren’t in any immediate danger,” Cummings said. “But it engulfed the camp.”

Cummings was unaware of what was going on at the Scout camp in Colorado until she received a call from a Spanish Peaks representative. The employee told her that there was a fire, and that five people from Troop 353 had not checked in with Red Cross.

Luckily, Cummings was able to locate the missing Troop members quickly.

“I called one of the adult leaders and he said, oh, we’re fine, we’re sitting in a hotel,” Cummings said.

Diane Dunn, mother of Devin, said she is “just so thankful for all our leaders.” She credits them for getting the boys to safety.

Kevin Cummings, a groundskeeper in the Granbury Independent School District’s maintenance department, said it really wasn’t a big deal.

“We had a chance to exercise some of our survival skills,” he said. “We executed a strategy. It was exciting. Our boys did great. Everybody was calm, and we did what we needed to do. It was the experience of a lifetime.”

The Scouts and their leaders fell back on everything they had learned about being prepared. The safe evacuation happened quickly.

Still….

“Not as quickly as I would have liked to,” said Devin.

[email protected] | 817-573-7066, ext. 258

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