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Camden Park plans to reopen Tuesday

Jul. 21, 2013 @ 11:36 PM

CEREDO -- Camden Park is closed for two days after the Dodgem' Cars were destroyed in an electrical fire early Sunday morning.

The cause of the fire was a power surge that occurred when power was restored after an outage during an overnight storm, according to a news release from the park.

The 911 call came at 2:30 a.m. from the night watchman, said Clinton Burley, public information office for the Ceredo Volunteer Fire Department, which responded along with departments from Kenova, Lavalette and Green Valley.

The ride was more than 60 years old.

"That was my favorite ride in the park," said Shawn Wellman, ride supervisor at the park. "It had an old, wooden roof. Once it got lit, it was old and dry and just went up."

The fire also damaged two nearby buildings, a maintenance shop and men's restroom facility. Workers will be repairing those and removing the remains of the Dodgem' Cars ride on Sunday and Monday, and the park is scheduled to reopen at 11 a.m. Tuesday as usual, Wellman said.

"The loss of the Dodgem' ride saddens all of us who love the historic rides that are the fabric of this 113-year-old park," Manager Jack Boylin said in the release. "We will do our best to bring back a modern day version of this ride."

There were probably many people who were flooded with memories Sunday when they heard news of the fire, said Burley, whose father was manager at the park for 30 years.

"Although the cars had changed through the years, the ride was a constant. I'm confident a lot of people were sad to lose that ride because there are a lot of youthful memories," he said. "The Boylins have been serious about renovating the park, and although this is a setback, I hope they can rebuild and continue on."

Here's a look at some other fires that have occurred at Camden Park in its 113-year history:

In the early 1950s, a stable used for horse shows burned on the east side of the property.

In 1957, the original roller rink, where the main parking lot is now, burned. In 1958, the former dance hall was converted into a roller rink.

In the late 1980s, there was a kitchen fire in the malt shop on the south side of the cafeteria. After that fire, that portion of the park was never rebuilt.

In 1996, a large fire destroyed the roller rink, business office and Skee-Ball operation, valued at $1 million.

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