A 16-year-old has been charged with arson after a fire tore through a Christian summer camp in Spring Creek, PA, burning thousands of dollars of hay, destroying buildings and killing several dozen animals earlier this month.
The arrested teen was a Johnstown volunteer at Miracle Mountains Ranch, and authorities now believe that he started the fire that caused widespread devastation across the Christian camp.
Police believe that the teen used hay from the grounds as tinder to set the fire, and although no one was harmed there were numerous animals that died in the fierce blaze including goats, pigs, sheep and several cats and birds.
It has been reported that 175 campers had just left the camp before the fire started and the camp's executive director, Matt Cox, was first on the scene.
"The minute I started out my door, I heard the siren of the local volunteer fire department, Spring Creek, go off, so I just ran down," Cox told NBC WSEE News.
In the wake of the losses, the local community has stepped up to assist the camp. Volunteers have assisted in the fire clean-up and donated bales of hay and small animals.
Cox expressed both his surprise and gratitude at the outreach directed to Miracle Mountain Ranch.
"People pledging money, people pledging services. It's just, I can't even tell you what a blessing that, it has just touched us and has just been amazing, overwhelming," he said.
The camp staff has also relied on their faith and the spiritual support of the community.
On Miracle Mountain Ranch's Facebook page, the camp posted, "Although this is a terrific loss, with the Lords help, prayer, and lots of volunteers we will rebuild. We will post updates to this account. Thank you for your many prayers and thoughts."
The camp continued with its schedule in the aftermath of the fire and has not had to cancel any events.
Miracle Mountains Ranch opened its doors in 1964 with a mission to offer "Christ centered ministry where evangelism and discipleship are modeled through structured teaching, training, and life experiences by qualified staff surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ."
Anyone interested in assisting Miracle Mountains Ranch rebuild from the fire can click here for more information.