Fire destroys part of Paul Newman's camp for ill children

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ASHFORD, Conn. — A fire on Friday evening destroyed four buildings at Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for seriously ill children in Connecticut.

Camp chief executive Jimmy Canton said it appears that nobody was injured in the blaze, which was reported just after 5 p.m. He said the buildings housing the camp's store and arts and crafts, woodshop and cooking programs were destroyed.

“Although the cause of the fire is unknown at this time, what is known is that The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is a community devoted to hope and healing,” Canton said in a statement. “We will get through this in the way that we always have and always will — as a family.”

The camp, with extensive medical facilities on site, was founded by Newman in 1988 in the woods of eastern Connecticut, with a Western motif inspired by Newman's movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

It provides summer camping experiences adapted for children with serious physical and medical limitations, although its traditional summer camp was cancelled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The charity also runs outreach programs for children in more than 40 hospitals, clinics and other settings in the Northeast, serving more than 20,000 children each year.

The camp is funded in part through proceeds from the sale of “Newman's Own” brand products.

The Associated Press