The historic Wright Company airplane factory in Dayton, Ohio, was significantly damaged in a fire that began early Sunday morning. The factory, which is currently managed by the National Aviation Heritage Area, was built in 1910-1911 and had “significant original building features from the time of the Wright Brothers, including the wood roof and support structure.” The cause of the fire and the full extent of the damage is not yet known.
“We are deeply saddened by the fire that damaged our historic Wright Company airplane factory, the first purpose built buildings for the aviation industry,” said National Aviation Heritage Area Executive Director Mackensie Wittmer. “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.”
According to officials, the fire was called in at 2:28 a.m. local time and no injuries have been reported. The National Aviation Heritage Area stated that it was holding a meeting on Monday to create an emergency action plan. The Dayton Fire Department Fire Investigations Unit is looking into the incident.
Known as the oldest aircraft manufacturing facility in the world, the Wright Company airplane factory produced approximately 120 aircraft before being sold by Orville Wright in 1915. Purchased by the City of Dayton in 2018, it was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places in September 2019. Preservation and restoration work have been underway since.