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Fire Destroys Barn Owned By Greene Broom Maker

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A barn in Greene was completely destroyed by fire on Wednesday evening, and the owner is no stranger. Alan Williamson, the man who sent the handmade patriotic broom to President Trump, lost antique equipment in the fire. 

"I heard a bang, a boom like, not enough to rattle the windows, but it was loud enough to hear," says Williamson. 

Williamson ran to the window of his Route 12 workshop and saw his barn. 

"It was in total fire. All the way... coming right underneath the sides," says Williamson. 

A picture of the barn within minutes of that first "bang" Williamson heard.

His first thought: The antique sawmill and slab slaw, both painstakingly restored by Williamson, and both inside that burning building. 

"I thought I could pull out some of the equipment, but I got close and it was so hot I couldn't even get near the building," says Williamson. 

I just feel... It was a loss.

That sawmill was built in the 1920s in Norwich and is the foundation of "Come See What I Saw," one of Williamson's many business ventures, each with similarly suitable names. 

"The antiques in there were from Chenango County, so that made them kind of special to me," says Williamson. 

Thankfully, most of his equipment is safe. Sweepheart Brooms, Fit To Be Tied shoelaces, Sock It To Me socks, and Hanging Around ropes are all kept in his workshop just across the driveway from the barn. That's where Williamson was when the fire broke out. He says the fire was strange because he didn't see any smoke when he walked past the barn just minutes earlier. 

"The firemen said, the wind was in that direction, heading towards me, so I should have been able to see something, but I didn't," says Williamson.

The remains of the barn are still smoking two days after the fire.

Williamson is just thankful no one was hurt and he's not about to let this set him back. 

"A friend asked me 'are you gonna do anything else?' I said, 'Ya, I'll probably put a building back up.' I said, 'I'm 80 years old and I hope I got 10 more good years and I'm not gonna give up now, I'm gonna keep going,'" says Williamson.

Both Greene and Chenango Forks fire departments responded to the call. Greene is currently heading the investigation, but have not yet found the cause.