Man charged with burning historic building


By Dixon Hayes
OXFORD, AL (WBRC) - An Oxford man is charged with arson, reckless endangerment, and drug charges after a fire destroyed a beloved historic home.
The farmhouse on the old Davis property, just off I-20, was destroyed earlier this month by fire.
Wednesday, Oxford Police arrested Nicholas Ray Allen, 30, after a phone tip led investigators to him.  Police say a search warrant turned up unspecified evidence that linked Allen to the Davis property, and say he confessed.
Police expect more charges against Allen. He may have set other fires. An earlier fire destroyed a large barn on the Davis property. Oxford Fire's Chief Gary Sparks says there were efforts to burn two more buildings a week prior to farmhouse's demise.
The Davis farmhouse is believed to pre-date the Civil War.  The antebellum home was built mostly of wood but covered over with bricks in the early 1950s.  The site is said to include graves of slaves who worked on the property and even the remains of an ancient Indian village.  The most recent occupant, Ruth Davis, was known to set up a large amount of Christmas lighting after she became a widow.  She died in the 1990s. The home has been unoccupied since.
Allen is held on a more than $165,000 bond in the Oxford City Jail.  Police say Allen was out on bail for an unrelated burglary charge stemming from a break-in at Cheaha Golf.
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