DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Dayton Fire Department was on scene for more than 12 hours after a fire broke out at a historic Wright Brothers site early Sunday morning.
According to Montgomery County Regional Dispatch, crews were called to the area of Inland Avenue near West Third Street in Dayton around 2:28 a.m. on Sunday. Mutual aid from area departments was requested around the same time crews were dispatched.
Officials confirm the fire was at one point a 3-alarm fire.
A release from Dayton Fire identifies the building as historical, which was once the Wright Brothers’ manufacturing facility.
“It is listed on the National Historic Register as the first aircraft manufacturing facility founded by the Wright Brothers, and currently stands as the oldest aircraft manufacturing facility in the world,” the release says.
Stephen Wright, great-grandnephew of the Wright Brothers, stopped by the scene Sunday. He said he hopes this piece of Dayton aviation history can be salvaged.
“It’s just a sad day,” Wright said. “I hope the firefighters can save as much of the structure as possible and then we can move on from here.”
In 2018, the site was named a National Park site for Dayton. Last March, the Dayton City Commission approved funding to attempt to revitalize the historic building.
“I own property next to it, so, you know, I was kind of excited to see the movements of it and hopefully that does not change anything,” Dion Dortch, who owns property next to the site, said.
The first building was completed in 1910, the second a year later in 1911, according to the National Aviation Heritage Area.
The organization released a statement following the fire:
“We are deeply saddened by the fire that damaged our historic Wright Company airplane factory, the first purpose built buildings for the aviation industry,” Executive Director Mackensie Wittmer said. “We are grateful to the fire department for their quick and brave response, and we are working to assess the extent of the damage and the impact on our heritage.”
No one has been reported injured as of this time and the cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
City leaders said they are saddened by the fire. They released a statement Monday saying the fire department was still assessing the damage and investigating the cause. They also said they plan hold a meeting to determine what is next for the redevelopment of the site.
“The City and its partners are saddened over the fire this weekend at the historic Wright Brothers airplane factory(located in West Dayton). The City of Dayton has been working to preserve the historic factory buildings and oversee future development of the area. Currently, the Dayton Fire Department is assessing damage and trying to determine the cause of the fire. Additionally, the City’s development team is in the process of contacting stakeholders and partners to convene a meeting to determine next steps for future redevelopment,” according to a statement by the City of Dayton.
The City also said the air quality and water quality was not impacted by the fire.
If you have any information about the fire, you are asked to make a telephone call to the DFD Fire Investigation Unit at 937-333-TIPS.