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Condition Of Hospitalized Flathead Deck Collapse Victims Improves

Part of the collapsed deck at the Glacier Presbyterian Camp near Lakeside, MT.
Nicky Ouellet
Part of the collapsed deck at the Glacier Presbyterian Camp near Lakeside, MT.

Two of the people who were critically injured when a deck collapsed at a church camp on the west side of Flathead Lake Saturday are now classified as in good condition at Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Mellody Sharpton of Kalispell Regional said today that just nine patients remain out of the 27 people who were initially hospitalized there after the collapse at Glacier Presbyterian Camp near Lakeside. All are listed in good condition.

More than 50 people were taken to five area hospitals, and Seattle, after the deck collapsed. Glacier Camp, owned by Glacier Presbytery, was hosting a memorial service on Saturday when the 10,000-square-foot wrap-around deck at its Spruce Lodge facility fell.

Glacier Camp is zoned within Lake County, but the county does not maintain building codes, says Lake County Planning Director Jacob Feistner.

“The county doesn't have the budget or the staff to pursue building codes at this time,” Feistner said.

Feistner says Glacier Camp applied for a zoning conformance permit in 2002 to build Spruce Lodge. The county inspected the building for zoning compliance, but not for structural integrity or safety.

“They had what they needed as far as the county zoning is concerned... beyond that, it's up to the landowner to be responsible for the structure and whether or not it's sound,” he said.

The Associated Press is reporting that Lake County Sheriff Don Bell says his department won't investigate the collapse because there wasn't a crime. He says that the cause will be determined by the insurance investigator.

Kalispell Regional Medical Center spokesperson Mellody Sharpton says the hospital is proud of how it responded to the mass casualty event.

“We did our jobs, and we did a great job at doing our jobs,” Sharpton said.

She said patients arrived with injuries ranging from exposed broken bones to spinal issues, and many required immediate surgery.

“We had staff members coming in responding to this event, who weren't even on call, they just came in to help ... even housekeeping staff that came in to clean rooms so that they could turn those rooms over very quickly in our ED,” Sharpton said.

Sharpton says Kalispell Regional Medical Center trains for mass casualty events like this. She says the hospital plans to hold debriefing sessions soon.

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