WATERFORD – The home of Camp Wigwam’s owner on Bear Pond sustained minor damage Wednesday afternoon from a chimney fire.

Firefighters from Waterford, Harrison and Stoneham arrived at 57 Wigwam Pass shortly after 3:30 p.m.

Bob Strauss, who has owned the camp since 1977,  said he had been walking the grounds and came home to find smoke and flames coming from a basement floor joist.

“I put them out with a fire extinguisher then called 911,” he said. “These guys got here in a hurry,” he said he watched firefighters at work.

The chimney fire ignited the joist, causing minor structural damage, Waterford Fire Department Assistant Chief Tom Murch said.

The 20-year-old, wood-frame home is owned by Bob and Jane Strauss, who works as a kindergarten teacher at the Harrison Elementary School.

“This is like family,” said Karen Schroeder, who works maintenance at the camp and arrived there after hearing the news.

Camp Wigwam, with its familiar totem pole entrance on Bear Pond Road, celebrated its centennial last year. Strauss said the camp runs several programs for boys during the summer including a mainstream camp and a camp for Maine children in the foster care system. 

About 170 children attend the camps each summer. Strauss said they are set to open on June 25.

He took over ownership from his parents, who had operated it since 1964.

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