‘I’m hoping the structure can be saved;’ Fire damages historic building in Dayton

DAYTON — Drone video from Sky 7 shows the aftermath of a huge fire at Dayton’s historic Wright Company Factory from Sunday. Firefighters were on scene for at least 15 hours trying to save it.

The city says the Wright Company airplane factory is the oldest aircraft facility in the world.

>>PHOTOS: Sky 7 shows fire damage to historic building in Dayton

News Center 7′s Brandon Lewis was there for much of the afternoon as firefighters worked to put out the flames.

Dayton firefighters will remain on scene overnight to monitor the site on Inland Avenue and W. Third Street.

Dayton Fire Chief, Chris Kinzeler, told Lewis they did their best to make sure the fire did not destroy history.

>>WATCH: Sky 7 shows fire damage of historic building in Dayton; Fire placed under control

Firefighters spent all day Sunday trying to put out flames and hotspots.

Jerome Hannon lives feet from the property and was home with his wife, daughter and her boyfriend.

“About 1:30, I heard a big boom that knocked the gate down,” he told Lewis. “About 20 minutes later, looked out there and the building was in flames.”

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Video from overnight shows flames and smoke billowing into the sky and at one point, more than 40 firefighters were on scene.

“We’re going to throw everything we have at any building, but especially this one,” said Kinzeler. “We want to save as much of it as we could.”

He told Lewis the fire caused the roof of the Wright Company Factory to collapse.

“The important thing is that we’re able to save the façade of the building, the face, the front of buildings 1 and 2 of the original Wright Brothers buildings,” Kinzeler told Lewis. “Those are saved.”

>>PHOTOS: Firefighters continue cleanup of historic building fire in Dayton

The Wright Brothers founded the Wright Company in 1909, according to the National Aviation Heritage Area.

The Wright Company Factory’s buildings 1 and 2 were built in the next two years and it was the first factory in America to manufacture airplanes.

The factory is on the National Register of Historic Places and the National Aviation Heritage Area said it has been working to have the factory preserved.

“We are deeply saddened by the fire that damaged our historic Wright Company airplane factory, the first purpose built buildings for the aviation industry,” Mackensie Wittmer, Executive Director, said in a statement on its social media page. “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.”

News Center 7 reached out to her Sunday but did not hear back.

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Lewis spoke with someone who grew up in the area and she said the building means a lot to the community.

“I’m hoping the structure can be saved so that it can be an uplift to the community,” LaToyi George.

Chief Kinzeler said no one was hurt and there was nothing inside the factory.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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