Fire destroys Dayton railroad depot; vow to rebuild it
DAYTON, Nev. (KOLO) -7:00 a.m. June 18, 202 update: 63-year-old Kurt Selzer of Ventura, California is facing felony arson charges after investigators say he confessed to starting several brush fires in Lyon County.
Selzer was arrested around 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, 2020 after witnesses called sheriff’s deputies saying a man was starting fires in the State Park just east of the Gold Ranch Casino.
Deputies found Selzer laying on the ground near a brush fire. They also found a lighter and a nearly empty jug of acetone in his possessiong.
Investigators say Selzer admitted to also starting a fire are the Community Roots nursery earlier that evening. That fire did not damage any structures, but burned a small amount of landscape in the area.
The investigation into the arson at the railroad depot is on-going and charges related to that investigation are pending at this time. Anyone with information related to this information is requested to contact the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office at 775-463-6600.
10:30 p.m. update: The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office said a man is in custody on suspicion of starting two fires near the railroad depot. The sheriff’s office is investigating to see if he is linked to the depot fire.
6:55 p.m. update: Fire destroyed a 141-year-old train depot Wednesday afternoon in Dayton. A person working on its restoration for 12 years vowed to rebuild it.
The depot at Shady Lane and Logan Alley burned completely to the ground, said Linda Clements, a member of the board of directors for the Historical Society of Dayton Valley and program manager for depot restoration.
“That’s my baby and it’s gone,” Clements said.
The depot was originally built in Mound House in 1879 and moved to Dayton in 1881. When the federal government built U.S. 50 in the 1950s it was moved to its present location.
The society has worked on restoring the depot since 2008. About $700,000 and thousands of hours of labor have gone into it.
Then it was gone in an afternoon. “There’s nothing but charcoal left,” Clements said.
There’s no indication yet what started the fire, which was reported about 3:20 p.m., Central Lyon County Fire Protection District Chief Rich Harvey said. Fire spread rapidly, enveloping the structure within minutes, Harvey said.
“Yes, it was old wood,” Clements said. “We had nothing in there that was flammable. No electricity. No oil. We were very careful to keep those kind of things out of there.”
The plan was to open it as a welcome center and museum focusing on railroads and the mills the railroads served. It was going to be an open-air museum with a blacksmith shop and serve as a gateway to the older part of Dayton.
The foundation remains. There’s still lumber being used in the restoration available to rebuild it.
It was owned by Lyon County and Clements thinks it was insured.
“I’ve got pictures of every square inch of that depot,” Clements said. “We’re going to rebuild. It won’t be as good. It won’t be the same. But it will be my baby.”
Harvey said the old lumber in the depot spit out a huge ember shower as it burned. Several fires started downwind of the burning depot and his investigators are trying to determine the causes of those fires.
There were three or four small brushfires in the Silver Street area and then an uninhabited home for sale and a shed roof also caught fire, but fire was confined to the roofs, Harvey said.
Then there was another brushfire at Fourth Street and U.S. 50.
All fires are in mop-up and no one was injured, Harvey said.
Witnesses tell KOLO 8 News Now that Dayton’s 1881 Carson & Colorado Railroad Depot was burning on Wednesday afternoon.
The depot is at Shady Lane and Logan Alley in Dayton.
One nearby business operator said the museum has been working to restore the old depot building and it was piled high with building materials and it all went up.
KOLO has a call into the Central Lyon County Fire Protection District to get more information.
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