2015-09-03 / Front Page

Fire destroys apartment above doll museum

By Gary Gould
810-452-2650 • ggould@mihomepaper.com


Davison Township Police blocking off Main Street during a fire at 310 N. Main Street, Aug. 31. The fire was on the second floor of the white building on the right. 
Photo by Pat Price Davison Township Police blocking off Main Street during a fire at 310 N. Main Street, Aug. 31. The fire was on the second floor of the white building on the right. Photo by Pat Price DAVISON — Fire destroyed an apartment above the Doll Museum, 310 N. Main St., leaving a family homeless and causing smoke and water damage to the museum filled with antique and collectable dolls, Aug. 30.

Davison-Richfield Fire Chief Mike Wright said a child playing with a cigarette lighter is believed to have started the blaze at about 2:30 p.m. Aug. 31. While the child and family living there got out without injuries, many of the antique dolls at the museum were damaged by smoke and water.

The building, owned by Erwood and Marion Raysin of Metamora, sustained about $75,000-$100,000 damage, said Wright.

Marion Raysin, owner of the many dolls at the museum, was at Hansen Funeral Home, just several hundred yards north on Main Street, making funeral arrangements for her husband, Erwood, who died Aug. 29, when the call about the fire came in.


Fire leaps from the window of the upper floor of 310 N. Main Street during a blaze there, Aug. 30. 
Photo courtesy of Larry Dortman Fire leaps from the window of the upper floor of 310 N. Main Street during a blaze there, Aug. 30. Photo courtesy of Larry Dortman Wright said about 25 firefighters from his department were on the scene Sunday, quickly extinguishing the fire within 10-12 minutes.

The Davison-Richfield Fire Department was assisted by the Elba, Burton and Genesee Township fire departments. Wright said Grand Blanc also sent help, but he was able to send them back.

“I could see black smoke as soon as we came this way,” said Wright of the fire. “Every time we have a fire downtown I’m afraid it’s going to be a big one. Those old buildings make me worry.”

For Marion Raysin, the dolls at the museum all have a memory attached to them, according to a story about the museum in the Davison Index back in September 2012

The Raysins are the former owners of what is now Allen Funeral Home on Davison Road. The museum featured dolls from the late 19th-century (the oldest dates from the 1870s) up to modern day. Some of the collections include figures from bygone television shows and Hollywood shorts such as “The Little Rascals” and “Family Affair”, as well as American film icons like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

“I have been collecting dolls for 66 years,” said Marion in a 2012 interview. “We haven’t counted them all really, but we must have close to 2,000. My husband’s aunt got me started. Now I just want to share them.”

Wright said he allowed Marion to retrieve some of her more priceless doll collections from the museum after the fire, but they were unable to get everything out. Many of the dolls damaged by water and smoke may be able to be cleaned and restored, he said.

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