By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
FLY CREEK – Inside the barn at 325 Williams Road, Chief Chris Vuolo, Fly Creek Volunteer Fire Department, could hear “multiple” explosions.
“There were propane tanks and boxes of fireworks stored inside,” he said. “No one was hurt, thank God.”
The fire, which destroyed Wood Bull Antiques owner Kip Coburn’s barn on Christian Hill, Town of Otsego, on Friday, Nov. 6, was called in by a neighbor at 9:01 p.m., with trucks arriving on scene 10 minutes later. The fire was “fully involved,” according to Vuolo.
“It quickly spread to two trailers in the barn,” he said. “We got it under control in an hour, but we were there until 1 a.m. We couldn’t get to the second floor.”
The barn was Wood Bull Antiques’ original storage location for his inventory when he moved to the area from New York City 40 years ago.
“We would go back and forth to the flea market in SoHo, then go to yard sales up here,” Coburn said.
He and his wife Judith lived there for a time before giving the house to his daughter, who since the COVID-19 outbreak moved back from Rhode Island. She has since moved, and was not at the house when the fire broke out.
“I don’t know how the fire started,” he said. “But when I got there, the whole side was on fire.”
The barn itself was packed full of antiques, adding fuel to the blaze. “There was some natural wood furniture in there and a lot of spare chairs,” said Coburn. “I’m a bit of a packrat when it comes to collecting.”
Also inside were two camping trailers and several antique cars, all of which were destroyed in the blaze.
“It was fast-moving and hot,” said Vuolo. “There were a lot of artifacts.”
The fire also torched a second, smaller building, which Coburn said he used as a tool shop, and a chicken coop, but all five chickens escaped unharmed. The house on the property was not harmed.
The fire is still under investigation, but is not currently considered suspicious. “We think a light might have gotten knocked over in the chicken coop,” said Vuolo.
Mutual aid was provided at the scene by Cooperstown, Hartwick, Hartwick Seminary, Richfield Springs and Schuyler Lake.