Durango residents sue historic train company, accuse it of starting 416 wildfire

Kirk Mitchell
The Denver Post
Cres Fleming, with his dog Stella, waves to Durango & Silverton Train Locomotive 486 as it makes its way towards Durango on July 10, 2018 near Hermosa.
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

Durango and Silverton residents have filed a civil lawsuit against the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Company claiming one of the company’s vintage coal-fired steam trains ignited the 416 fire, causing devastating property and business damages.

The lawsuit filed Friday in La Plata County District Court on behalf of more than a half-dozen business and homeowners seeks unspecified damages against the train company and its primary owner, Al Harper.

“We know the train is beloved in the Durango-Silverton area. It is not our intent to put them out of business. However, we believe the management of the train should be held accountable for the damages they caused, which could have easily been avoided had they acted sensibly,” plaintiff attorney Bobby Duthie of Durango wrote in an email to The Denver Post.

The Durango lawfirm of Duthie Savastano Brunbgard and Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine have joined forces to bring the lawsuit against the train company.

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