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Posted on Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

Barn fire destroys an estimated $1M worth of trucks, tractors, tools

By Kyle Feldscher

A barn fire caused an estimated $1 million in damage Sunday morning in Augusta Township, destroying multiple tractors and trucks stored inside, officials said Monday.

Augusta Township Assistant Fire Chief Dave Music said Monday firefighters were sent to the blaze at 8:19 a.m. Sunday off Willow Road between Whittaker Road and Gooding Road. Music said the barn was fully engulfed in flames and threatening a nearby propane tank and diesel fuel tank.

“The fire was fully involved, the plume could be seen two or three miles away,” he said.

Augusta Township firefighters called in help from the Pittsfield Township Fire Department, Saline Area Fire Department and Milan Area Fire Department. Sumpter Township firefighters covered the Augusta Township area while crews fought the blaze and Huron Valley Ambulance crews were on standby.

The first crews on scene put water on the propane tank in order to keep it cool and their quick arrival managed to keep the 1,000-gallon propane tank and 300-gallon diesel fuel tank from exploding.

Music said crews also managed to calm the fire around an excavator parked outside the barn that only suffered some scorched paint.

However, the large number of items inside the 60-foot-by-120-foot barn were not salvageable, Music said.

The building is owned by Szabo Farms and is a part of a complex of buildings on the sod farm, Music said. It was one of the largest buildings on the site and mainly was used for storage.

Inside the barn at the time of the blaze were multiple tractors, trucks, tools and other items that were being stored. Music said there was a large amount of straw bales in the back of the barn that had to be separated by an excavator in order to keep the fire down.

Initial estimates by Augusta Township Fire Chief Vic Chevrette put the damage caused by the fire to be somewhere between $800,000 and $1 million. Music said the owner of the building is doing an itemized list of things lost in the flames.

The blaze took between 45 minutes and an hour in order to get under control and crews were on scene for hours afterward for overhaul, Music said. He said several small explosions were heard inside the building and Music said there was a report of a large explosion before firefighters arrived.

No one was injured in the fire and the cause of the blaze is still under investigation by the Michigan State Police, but Music said there’s nothing that immediately pointed to the fire being suspicious.

“It’s still under investigation but we didn’t see anything that stuck out as suspicious,” he said.

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Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Julia Herbst

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 12:49 a.m.

This is so sad, Especialy since the Szabo family was at church celebrating Easter Sunday when this blaze happened. Prayers to their family, and to the buisness! They are wonderful people!


Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

Holy smokes (pun intended). Well written article. This fire was a huge conflagration. Super job by the well coordinated fire departments. I'm so happy that no one was injured or worse. Hopefully, this will give others pause so they can avoid something similar.

Ann English

Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : midnight

You probably chose to mention Whittaker Road because it's better known than HItchingham Road. But I never knew of Gooding Road's existence; seeing Whittaker and Gooding used together reminded me of Whittaker-Gooding Gravel Pit, in Scio Township near Zeeb and Peters Roads in the mid-1970s; there's probably some history connecting the old gravel pit and the roads with the same names, despite the distance between them.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 11:51 p.m.

Gosh I can't even imagine what sort of explosion a 1000 gallon propane tank could cause.


Mon, Apr 1, 2013 : 10:30 p.m.

Bummer. I hope their was insurance in place and they are fair with their policy-holder.