June 18, 2008 IMLAY TWP. — A changing breeze Thursday, June 12, helped fan a fire that caused extensive damage to an old barn at a residence on Bowman Road, a mile south of Newark Road.
Firefighters from Imlay City, Almont and Mussey Township responded shortly after 2 p.m.; battling flames and smoke for some time before bringing the fire under control.
Imlay City Fire Chief Kip Reaves said the fire is believed to have begun when embers from a nearby brush fire spread to the barn when the wind direction changed, igniting the roof's cedar shingles. A second barn was undamaged.
Reaves said the homeowner, who was burning brush left over from recent storms, had a valid burning permit.
"I fully expected to lose the involved barn to flames and end up fighting a fire in the second barn," said Reaves. "Firefighters from all three departments did an excellent job of saving the involved barn and protecting the second barn from any damage. It was one of the top five barn saves I have ever seen."
Although the extent of the fire damage has yet to be assessed, Reaves speculated that the barn's first story could be repaired or remodeled.
Smoke and flames weren't the only challenge firefighters faced at the scene.
"There were a few hiccups after the fire," Reaves noted. "Two fire trucks were stuck in the soft ground and one tanker lost its brakes."
The homeowner used his backhoe to free Imlay City's pumper, which had gotten mired in the soft lawn, added Reaves.
Other emergency personnel at the scene included Almont police and Lapeer County EMS. There were no injuries.