Boy killed at Carroll County camp from falling tree limbs, snapped by strong wind

MANCHESTER, Md. - A boy was killed by a tree knocked over by powerful wind from the severe storm that swept across a Carroll County campground. Eight other children suffered injuries.

The kids, ages 7-12, belonged to the Fort Roller Junior Youth Camp and Arrowhead Woods at River Valley Ranch.

"Our hearts are sad obviously were here because we believe in providing a wonderful experience for children and we've been doing it for 62 years and something like this has never happened in our history," Jon Bisset, executive director of River Valley Ranch, said. "Obviously it's pretty traumatic for the campers because a lot of them were there when it happened."

Officials said the storm moved quickly across the campground at about 7 p.m. The group of campers hiking along a path through a wooded area from an outdoor pavilion to Hilltop Hall. 

That's when the tree fell. 

Eight of the kids suffered minor injuries from falling tree limbs. One boy was badly hurt, trapped under the tree, according to Lineboro Fire Department spokesman Don Fair. At about 10 p.m. officials confirmed that the child had died at a nearby hospital.

Six of the eight children had to be taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. Two of the kids were treated at the camp by emergency medical personnel.

The surrounding area of River Valley Ranch experienced significant damage at the hands of the thunderstorm.  Trees and power lines were among the various objects thrown askew, officials said.

Bisset released a statement on the camp's website sometime before midnight: 

It is with a very heavy heart that I share with you a tragedy that occurred at RVR tonight. Around 7 pm our Fort Roller and Arrowhead Woods campers, were gathered for meeting in the Arrowhead Woods pavilion. Our staff noticed a storm that was quickly approaching and immediately began moving the campers from the pavilion to the nearest secure building, Hilltop Hall. The storm came upon them in a very quick and severe manner before all the children reached the building. The intense storm knocked down numerous tree’s and limbs in a matter of seconds and 9 children were injured. I am sad to say that one of the children died from his injuries. Please pray for all of these children and their families.

Jon Bisset, Executive Director


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