Fire ravages lodge at Baptist conference center
Monday, July 23, 2012
ROACH — A mechanical failure in a dryer unit led to the total loss of a 7,200-square foot lodge Sunday morning at the historic Windermere Baptist Conference Center in Roach.
According to Mid-County Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Chris Bachman, firefighters were sent to a commercial structure fire at 2:57 a.m. Sunday at Windermere Baptist Conference Center.
Upon arrival, firefighters found the building involved was the Whispering Oak Lodge, which is a two-story building with eight lodging units and laundry facility for Windermere. According to Bachman, it was confirmed upon arrival that no guests were occupying the lodge at the time, which was fully engulfed and had flames shooting 30 feet from the roof.
The fire quickly moved to a second-alarm, which had 16 pieces of equipment and 27 personnel responding from six departments including Mid-County FPD, Camdenton Fire Department, Osage Beach Fire Protection District, Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District, Southwest Fire Protection District and Lebanon Fire Department.
It took three hours to bring the incident under control and Lake Ozark Fire Protection District moved up to standby at Mid-County Station 1 to provide coverage for any additional calls in the Camdenton area.
The State Fire Marshal was called in to assist in the fire investigation. It was determined the cause of the fire was accidental from a mechanical failure in a dryer unit located on the lower level.
The 7,200 square foot facility was a total loss, with additional damage sustained at a second maintenance building with data and communication equipment inside, Bachman added.
According to Windermere’s website, the Baptist camp and conference center provides year-round full service facilities for conferences, camps and seminars, as well as family outings and reunions. It can accommodate up to 2,000 guests simultaneously, sits on the Lake of the Ozarks waterfront and has several hundred acres of land at its property. The Whispering Oak Lodge is one of multiple lodging facilities and buildings at Windermere.