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When firefighters arrived Wednesday night at Melody Pines Day Camp on Crystal Lake in Manchester, this 20-by-30-foot shed was in flames. (Courtesy)

Manchester day camp shed destroyed in arson

MANCHESTER - A shed designed to look like a castle, located at Melody Pines Day Camp on Crystal Lake, was destroyed Wednesday night in a fire officials say was the work of an arsonist.

The 20-by-30-foot building served a dual purpose: to store the summer camp's ski equipment and as a play structure for children. A slide was attached to it, allowing children to slide down and into the lake.

Erika Connors, who co-owns the 510 Corning Road camp with her husband, Stephen, said a neighbor across the lake spotted the fire just before midnight and called the owners. By then, fire trucks were already en route, she said.

District Fire Chief Michael Gamache said only the skeleton of the building, which was completely in flames, was standing when fire crews arrived.

Weather and access were issues for firefighters, who had to delay their initial attack. Still, crews had the blaze under control in about 15 minutes.

Fire investigators determined the blaze was an arson although they have yet to determine how and where it began.They also do not know if it is related to several other arson fires last summer in that neighborhood but are looking into that possibility.

Total damage, including the building, slide and equipment, is estimated at $30,000.

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