Fire destroys dance barn at Sugarbush Farms in Superior Township
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A fire completely destroyed the barn at Sugarbush Farms in Superior Township Sunday evening.
The Superior Township Fire Department arrived at the farm, located at 3620 Gotfredson Road, at 5:15 p.m. to find the roof of the two-story barn completely engulfed in flames. Ann Arbor Township, Salem Township and Northfield Township fire departments also responded to the scene.
It took firefighters roughly an hour and a half to get the fire under control. Firefighters were on the scene until around 9 p.m. extinguishing all the flames, according to Capt. Ronald Smith of the Superior Township Fire Department.
"The barn was a complete loss," Smith said. "We were able to salvage some equipment, some tools and an awning that was near the front, but very little."
Joe Tashnick, 71, owner of Sugarbush Farms, has offered educational tours to school children at the farm since 1971. He said the barn is where children on tours would eat lunch and milk cows, and the upstairs was where dances would be held for evening parties. No animals were housed in the barn at the time of the fire, and the tractor used for hayrides was out of the barn as well.
Tashnick estimated it would cost $125,000 to completely rebuild. The barn was uninsured.
"That was our source of income, thankfully there were no animals in at the time, they were all out," Tashnick said.
Tashnick said he had another barn fire at Sugarbush in the spring of 1980.
Tashnick said there were four furnaces on the second floor of the barn with lit pilots and suspects that is where the fire originated. Smith said the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Tashnick, who along with his wife, Charlene, run Sugarbush Farms with some part-time help, is unsure whether he'll rebuild the barn. He estimated 3,000 to 5,000 students participate in tours annually.
"If I can arrange some loans I will (rebuild). It’s a fun trip for kids and it gives city kids an opportunity to touch something," Tashnick said.
He still hopes to offer tours, hayrides and parties, but will need to have a building with bathrooms first.
"We have to figure out how to get in bathrooms because they were in the barn and that’s gone now," Tashnick said.