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Posted on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

Fire destroys Chelsea-area farmer's milking barn

By Cindy Heflin


A fire Monday night destroyed this milking barn on Easton Road between Dexter and Chelsea.

Daniel Brenner |

A fire destroyed a sixth-generation farmer’s milking parlor in rural Lima Township Monday night.


The aftermath of a fire that destroyed this milking facility on Easton Road between Dexter and Chelsea Monday night.

Daniel Brenner |

Farmer Archie Bradbury said he finished milking and left the building shortly before 7 p.m. Monday. A few minutes later, a neighbor came pounding on his door and said, “you’ve got a problem.”

By then, Bradbury could see flames coming out of the north end of the building. He called 911 and ran to the building and removed some items and turned a hose on the fire, but it wasn’t enough to do much.

Several drivers on Interstate 94 also called to report the fire, said Chelsea Area Fire Authority Chief Jim Payeur.

By the time firefighters arrived, the building was engulfed in flames. Firefighters from five departments responded and kept the blaze from spreading to a nearby barn full of hay, but the milking parlor itself is likely a total loss, though Bradbury is hopeful some equipment might be salvaged.

No animals were in the building, and no one was injured.

But Bradbury is not sure if he’ll be continuing in the milking business. “I’m pretty old,” he said. Bradbury, 68, grew up on the farm on Easton Road between Dexter and Chelsea and said he is the sixth generation of his family to work it.

The nearly 50 cows he milks are now with neighbors while he waits to find out the cause of the fire and deal with insurance. He said he could not estimate his loss for the building and the milking equipment in it.

Fire investigators were heading back to the property Tuesday morning to determine the cause.

Besides the Chelsea Area Fire Authority, firefighters from Dexter, Scio Township, Saline and Manchester battled the blaze.

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Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Is it just me-- seems like there are many more fires here lately in the area. Let's hope there are no more.

Kyle Mattson

Wed, Feb 20, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

Hi Carole- Winter seems to alway be a season of increased fires due to the various heating methods in use. Not to say this is what happened in this situation, but all it takes is a heat lamp in a barn igniting some dry hay to start a blaze in a matter of seconds. Although there have been a number of such fires this year, we're glad few have resulted in the loss of life.


Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

I'm very sorry to hear this but glad that no people or animals were hurt in the fire. I'm also glad that neighbors were able to take the cows. They will still need milking. I hope everything will work out for the Bradbury's.

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Feb 19, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

second fire in 'chelsea' in as many weeks... (harvey rd, west of chelsea) is there a fire bug out there? any cause determined for the harvey rd fire? i know this one is yet to be determined.