In Your NeighborhoodJackson - Hillsdale


Large fire destroys abandoned historic factory in Jackson

Jackson fire
Posted at 1:45 PM, Aug 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-22 23:06:01-04

JACKSON, Mich. — The Jackson Fire Department is looking into what sparked a large fire that destroyed an abandoned historic factory in Jackson. Crews were called to North West Street, across from the Old Jackson Prison, around 1 p.m Tuesday afternoon.

"I was about a mile west of town and I could see the huge plume of smoke," said Aaron King, witness.

Smoke filled the sky, and could be seen all over town. King says he knew the fire was significant, and not just for its size.

Jackson fire 2
Jackson Fire 2

"I started listening to a police scanner, and I heard the address and looked up the map and recognized that it was this place, because I've always been fascinated by this building," said King.

Our research found this building was home to the Sparks-Withington Company, later known as Spartan Corp. It was known for making Spartan Radios and the first electric car horn in the early 1900s.

"The names attached to the company, like Withington and Sparks. Sparks is attached to the Cascades, Sparks Park, and Withington, he was a Civil War General," added King.

The building has since been abandoned. Online records show it was auctioned off just last week for $79,000 to an unknown bidder.

Jackson Fire 3
Jackson Fire

Fire officials do not know how the flames started, but they remained on scene for several hours.

"So, we've pulled resources all the way from Chelsea. Staffing is a big draw for these fires. A lot of water is needed. So, we did have to use some moving up from the DTW to move some pressure up," said Tim Gonzales, City of Jackson Deputy Fire Chief.

As crews continued to pour water on an old building, people like King looked up as another piece of Jackson's history became lost.

"It's quite a big loss because there's been so many other historic buildings that we've lost in downtown Jackson, and now this is another one," said King.

The fire is contained. Officials did warn nearby residents to shut their windows and turn off their air conditioners if they were concerned about the air quality.

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