No sign of arson found at Newman’s camp; cause undetermined

ASHFORD, Conn. (AP) — A police investigation into the fire that tore through the Hole in the Wall Gang camp for seriously ill children in Connecticut could not determine the cause but found no indication it was set intentionally, officials said Monday.

The Feb. 12 fire at the Ashford camp, which was founded by the late actor Paul Newman, destroyed buildings including a large wood-frame structure that was made to look like the center of an old western town.

The investigation was closed with the cause of the blaze listed as undetermined.

“Due to the catastrophic damage caused by the fire, the exact area of fire origin could not be identified,” Connecticut State Police said in a news release. “It is the opinion of investigators that the fire started in one area, however, and quickly spread through the buildings that comprised the camp’s Main Street area and housed the wood working shop, the arts and crafts area, the camp store and the cooking zone.”

The camp plans to replace the lost structures with a larger, single-level complex.

The camp was built in 1988 to accommodate about 300 children each summer. The charity now serves about 20,000 kids a year on site and through community and hospital-based programing.

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