Summer camp dormitories vandalized in Birch Bay

The discharge of fire extinguishers left residue on carpets and walls that require extensive cleanup.

By Jami Makan

An investigation is underway after three Lions Camp Horizon dormitory buildings in Birch Bay were vandalized on January 29.

The vandal(s) forced entry into three of the four dormitory buildings, which are located in Whatcom County’s Bay Horizon Park, and discharged multiple dry-chemical fire extinguishers.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident and collected fingerprints at the scene of the crime. There are no known suspects at this time.

Powder from the fire extinguishers spread throughout the buildings, causing extensive damage to carpets, walls, window coverings and beds.

Cleaning up the chemical residue is expected to cost up to $15,000. However, this figure could easily grow if the fire detection and alarm panel equipment turns out to be damaged by the corrosive fire extinguisher powder.

As a result of the attack, Lions Camp Horizon, which provides summer camp for about 250 teens and adults each summer, had to pay an insurance deductible, taking away money from its already lean budget.

“Spending $2,500 as our deductible to get this mess cleaned up takes money directly away from assets that could be used for scholarships for those who cannot afford our camp fees, camper activities, facility improvements and maintenance,” Lions Camp Horizon Foundation president Don Webster wrote in an email. “It also places additional tasks on our part-time staff and volunteers to organize the cleanup and related actions to deal with this senseless vandalism.”

In addition to the insurance deductible, Lions Camp Horizon must now spend money on additional security measures, such as video surveillance and additional alarms.

The organization is asking the public to consider making donations to assist with these measures. Donations can be made online at lionscamphorizon.org or by mail to Lions Camp Horizon, 7506 Gemini Street, Blaine, Washington 98230.

Lions Camp Horizon, a non-profit organization that is now in its 45th year of providing summer camp, has suffered previous attacks.

In the spring of 2017, teenagers discharged fire extinguishers in the dining hall, prompting the organization to install an alarm in that building. There was a third attack shortly afterwards, in which a number of juveniles pleaded guilty and were sentenced to one year of probation.

“It’s ultimately our campers who are hurt,” said Webster.

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