A massive fire that destroyed a historic barn in Michigan sparked during the creation of a TikTok post, Michigan officials said Friday.
The Cady-Boyer barn in Canton, which predates the Civil War, burned down in the May 30 fire, Canton officials say. Christopher Stoecklein, the fire chief in Canton, told McClatchy News that children set off colored smoke bomb fireworks and a lit a piece of cardboard on fire.
This started a fire to the barn, which later spread to an adjacent silo. The children, whose names and ages were not disclosed, tried to put out the flames before they called 911, Stoecklein said.
The fire spread quickly because of how old and dry the wood was, according to the fire chief. Firefighters were at the barn for a couple of hours extinguishing the flames.
“It just took off,” Canton Fire Marshal John Oltman said of the fire, according to The Canton Observer. “There was nothing to slow it down. It just kept going.”
No one was injured in the fire, Stoecklein said. The children who caused the fire will not be charged, as it was ruled unintentional.
The Canton Township community viewed the barn as a symbol of historical value, Stoecklein said.
“We are an old farm community and through the last 100 years have grown tremendously,” the fire chief said. “This was one of the last pieces of history we have in the township.”
The barn was built before the Civil War and was remodeled in 1908, according to the township. From 1970 to 1981, it was used as the Rotary School Farm, which taught children about farm animals and lives of the township’s ancestors.
It was most recently moved in 2006 to the Canton Preservation Park, The Detroit News reported. The barn was a focal point of the park, which hosted graduation parties and other events with a new $300,000 pavilion, according to The Canton Observer.
“For the past 15 years, the Cady-Boyer barn has been one of Cherry Hill Village’s treasured landmarks,” Greg Hohenberger, Canton Leisure Services Director, said in a statement. “It’s such a loss because the massive red barn and silo anchored all of the historic properties in this park and were so visible from Ridge Road. This great reminder of Canton’s agricultural roots will really be missed.”
Others also noted their sadness at the loss of the barn. David Curtis, a director of the Canton Historical Society, told The Canton Observer earlier this month he was “feeling pretty devastated” and he had spent a lot of time helping preserve the barn.
State Rep. Ranjeev Puri, who serves the Canton community, also noted his devastation.
“My kids and I enjoyed stopping by during the weekly farmers markets and various events throughout the year,” Puri said in a Facebook post. “This is an irreplaceable loss for the community.”