Marion Boy Scouts revisit Camp Hadley after brush fire

Mar 18, 2023

MARION — Soot and ashes mixed in with the dirt outside of the burnt storage shed at Camp Hadley in Marion on Saturday, March 18. 

Nearby, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of Marion’s Troop 32 surveyed the damage caused by a March 8 brush fire that spread from a neighbor’s yard, damaged a portion of the troop's bunkhouse and completely burned a storage shed containing much of the troop’s supplies. 

According to Troop 32 Scout Master Paul St. Don, one person was injured in the fire, but the camp was not in use at the time and no boy scouts were harmed.

“All the scout supplies are gone, tents, sleeping bags, klondike sleds and soap box derby cars,” said Zora St. Don, a trustee of the Camp Hadley Trust. “They’re going to have to start from scratch.”

In addition to lost supplies, the troop lost a beloved 1959 Canadian Mounted Police Cargo Canoe. The 16-foot vessel was made from mahogany and donated to the camp in 2014. 

According to St. Don, the boat was one of two in the United States. Now, there’s only one. 

Luckily, explained 17-year-old Boy Scout Leo Grondin, although much was lost, he had removed the troop’s flags the day before the fire. 

“I was told to move the boy scout flags from the cabin all the way to [St. Gabriel’s Church in Marion],” said Grondin, who explained that the flags had been with the troop for “a while.”

Although the flags survived, the fire and the damage still “surprised” Grondin.

“I never thought something like this could happen,” he said. “I’m grateful that the whole cabin wasn’t destroyed but I’m sad that the shed was destroyed.” 

The scouts weren’t alone at Camp Hadley on Saturday, they were joined by members of the Marion Fire Department who gave a quick lesson on fire safety. 

Firefighters explained the importance of properly maintaining a campfire, changing the batteries on smoke alarms and making sure a fire is completely extinguished before leaving camp.

According to Marion Firefighter Ryan Laperle, it “felt really good to see that no one was in the building,” and that the smoke alarms were blaring when first responders arrived on March 8. 

Laperle said that “it took a little longer than we hoped [to put out the fire]. Mostly the location was a factor. Getting other trucks here and getting more water.”

The Marion fire engine that responded on the day of the fire “only” carried 750 gallons of water, explained Laperle. Which, when sprayed at a rate of 150 gallons per minute, empties in around five minutes.

Fire departments from Rochester, Mattapoisett and Wareham responded to the call for help along with Marion police. 

“We had to manage the resources we have here,” said Laperle. “We had to contain it until we got more help to come to the fire.”

Now, Troop 32 has to rebuild. 

A GoFundMe page was created by Kristen Guevara to “restore and recover” the camp. As of March 18, $2,450 has been raised out of a $25,000 goal.

“It makes me sad because all the stuff is gone, but I think we’ll be able to rebuild,” said 14-year-old Boy Scout Iain McManus. “The shed will be a project but the [Klondike] sled, I think we can salvage that and rebuild.”