LAKESIDE – Dozens of people are still recovering after a deck collapsed south of Lakeside on Saturday.
It was a day that was supposed to be about remembering, but a memorial service turned into a nightmare in Lakeside late Saturday afternoon.
More than 50 people were hurt, some severely, after a deck collapsed at Spruce Lodge, a log cabin-style facility located on the west shore of Flathead Lake.
Brian Reed with the Lakeside Quick Response Unit says around 4:30 p.m. a 9-1-1 caller reported a deck had collapsed with around 30 people on it. Reed was the first responder to arrive on scene.
“When we got there we found right off the bat, we had patients, about 30 to 40 patients,” Reed said, adding that with so many people hurt he assessed the situation as “a mass casualty incident,” and called for more assistance.
Lake County Sheriff Don Bell arrived on scene shortly after: “They already had ambulances en route. They called for air-ambulances,” Bell said.
He added that he saw first responders from across the northwest Montana attending to the hurt — which ranged from children to elderly. “Getting people stabilized, whether it was the ankle, or head, or shoulder.”
“Of the more than 50 people hurt, more than half of them were taken to Kalispell Regional Medical Center where doctors say many had bone and ankle fractures as well as neurological injuries that required immediate surgery. Two of those patients are still in critical condition.”
Other patients were taken to hospitals in Whitefish, Polson, Ronan and Missoula.
The camp released a statement that reads, “we had a major accident at camp. Please join us in praying for the injured and their families. We are grateful to all of the EMTs and Paramedics, fire departments and first responders who came to our aid We ask for your prayers for all involved.”
There is still no word on what caused the deck to collapse. The Spruce Lodge is described as a top notch facility on Glacier Camp’s website. It was built in 2004.
MTN News has also learned that because the memorial was for a longtime Flathead Valley firefighter there were members from several agencies and fire departments there, and if not for their quick action, the outcome could have been much worse.
Reported by Nicole Miller