This story was published by the Ypsilanti Daily Press on Wednesday, January 21, 1931.
Valuable dairy equipment and 150 tons of hay were lost when fire early this morning burned to the ground the modern dairy barn on the Ferdinand Palma farm, situated on the east side of Stony Creek Road, one half mile south of the city limits. Loss is estimated at $50,000.
No cause of the fire could be given this morning by Mr. Palma or Fire Chief Alonzo H. Miller, but the possibility of arson is being investigated. A second theory advanced was that the stored hay caused spontaneous combustion, but Mr. Palma states that hay will not cause combustion at this time of year.
Flames were leaping high from the roof and the entire top section was ablaze when the fire was first discovered at 1 a. m. by one to the employees of the Bella Vista farms, which Mr. Palma owns.
The fire at time of discovery had gained such headway that it was impossible to save the barn, and attention was given other adjacent buildings.
Work of the Ypsilanti Fire department, and the fact that the wind was blowing flames from other buildings kept the fire from spreading. Only a milk house attached to the burning barn was damaged.
The roof of the barn caved in first, soon after the alarm was sounded, and a few minutes later the sides gave way. Fifty steel stanchions, a platform scale and feed truck were a jumbled mass of steel after the flames had finished playing havoc with the buildings.
The barn, which was 134 x 38 feet, had recently been repainted and put in good condition in preparation for housing 50 dairy cattle. Previously it had been standing idle and empty.
The loss was only partially covered by insurance.
H. J. Rhodes is manager of the farm where the barn burned. A barn standing in approximately the same spot, burned six years ago, causing heavy loss.