Vintage vehicles, biz files burn in barn fire

Oxford firefighter Randy Darnell hoses down the charred, smoldering remains of the Wilson barn at 1965 W. Davison Lake Rd. In the background is a 1967 Dodge Coronet convertible. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio.

Good Friday wasn’t a good day for the Wilson family.

Their barn burned to the ground.

At 10:02 a.m., Oxford firefighters were called to 1965 W. Davison Lake Rd., the home of local architect Jim Wilson and his wife, Liz Wilson, pastor of Immanuel Congregational United Church of Christ.

The Wilsons’ grandson, Garrett, 17, was the first to spot the flames and alerted the rest of the family.

Fire Chief Pete Scholz said when he arrived at the scene just east of Baldwin Rd., approximately half of the barn was burning.

“Shortly thereafter, the roof started coming down,” he said. “By the time the engine got here and we got the first hose up and started putting water on the fire, three-quarters of the building was consumed at that point.”

“It was burning extremely rapidly,” Scholz noted.

Built around 1980, the barn was about 40 feet wide, 100 feet long and two stories tall, according to Jim Wilson. It was made of wood with a cinder block foundation.

There were no horses inside the barn as the Wilsons no longer own any, however, four chickens perished in the blaze.

Two vintage vehicles – a 1967 Dodge Coronet convertible and an antique tractor – were inside the barn and destroyed by the fire, according to Jim Wilson.

Decades worth of files and codebooks from the architectural firm Wilson & Associates were stored on the barn’s second floor and lost to the flames.

“The whole damn history (of the business) was up there,” Wilson said.

Wilson no longer has an office in downtown Oxford. He’s been working from home.

Scholz said the cause of the fire is “still undetermined.”

He noted there was a heat lamp for the chickens in the area where the fire started.

“That’s the only (potential) source of ignition anywhere near there that we could find,” he said.

Scholz estimated the fire resulted in a loss of more than $100,000 in contents and it could cost approximately $60,000 to replace the barn.

Fire departments from Brandon, Metamora and Addison townships provided mutual aid by sending tanker trucks to the scene.

Orion and Addison fire personnel covered Oxford’s main station in case other calls came in.

“While we were (at the fire scene), Addison did go on a (medical) call for us,” Scholz noted.


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