This story was published by the Ypsilanti Daily Press on Monday, December 14, 1931.
Deputy State Fire Marshall Peter B. Karns and officers of the sheriffs’ department are today conducting an investigation into the attempted burning of a large barn on the farm occupied by Frank Mills, two and one-half miles north of Ypsilanti.
Mr. Mills discovered the “fire box”, the work of a professional, Sunday morning at 7 o’clock while securing feed for the stock. At that time the candle which had been ignited so in time it would burn to oil-soaked contents, was out.
The fire trap, an ordinary square box, cleverly arranged for starting a blaze, was packed with excelsior and manufactured kindling. The contents were soaked with oil and four pieces of pitch were placed in the box. The candle was placed so that it would burn to the contents and give the person lighting it, ample time to escape,. Although given proper ventilation the flame on the candle had gone out.
Mr. Mills is certain the “fire box” was planted in the hay mow Saturday evening as each morning he secures feed there, and it was placed in such a spot that he could not have escaped noticing it, had it been there Saturday morning.
Investigators are of the belief that it was a “fire bug”, who makes practices of such acts, as Mr. Mills stated he has had no trouble recently.