A fiery end for the Mustang Ranch 2
Appeal Staff Writer
Sunday morning, Air Force Amy watched as firefighters used drip torches to ignite what was left of the Mustang Ranch 2.
Amy came to watch as the brothel where she worked for three years was used for training purposes by the Storey County Fire Department.
“I look at the fence, I remember having to climb the fence to get out,” Amy said. “That was back when we didn’t have a lot of choices. We came to the Mustang out of desperation.”
The 20,000-square-foot building, located on Peri Ranch and East Mustang roads in Lockwood, was built by Joe Conforte in 1983 at a cost of $1 million. It operated as a working brothel until 1999 when it was seized by the Internal Revenue Service after Conforte fled the country.
Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite BunnyRanch, bought the property for $8,600 on eBay. Hof stripped the buildings of furniture, fixtures, telephone and fire suppression systems and had planned on moving the building, but because of the high costs decided against it.
Hof, who was on hand Sunday, decided to donate the building to Storey County for fire training purposes. He also compensated the county for overtime incurred by the firefighters to destroy the structure.
“The good thing is the BunnyRanch may save a fireman’s life someday. This gives them the practical experience that they don’t often get and if that’s what happens then we’ve done some good,” Hof said.
Fire Marshall Eric Guevin said, “When we can do live fire training where lives and property aren’t at risk, it’s a great benefit to us.”
Crews began with a multi-company night drill on Saturday night, destroying half the building before stifling the blaze, which was ignited again for the daytime drill Sunday morning.
Guevin said crews from across Northern Nevada have been using the building.
“It’s been a monthlong process and this is kind of the climax,” Guevin said. “As a native Nevadan, (the building’s destruction) is significant, but I see it more as an opportunity.”
As he watched the fire engulf the structure, Hof said the building’s destruction marked the end of an era.
“The Mustang name is synonymous with murder, bankruptcy, fraud and bribery and now, hopefully this will mark the end of that,” Hof said.
The billowing smoke drew onlookers who watched and took pictures of the brothel.
“We saw the smoke and knew the history so we had to stop,” said William Sayre, of Sparks. Sayre, along with his family, stopped and took pictures of the blaze.
Air Force Amy said she wasn’t sad to see the building go, but still had a lot of memories from her time there.
“I reminisce about the girlfriends and the memories here, but none of those things were directly connected to this building,” Amy said.
• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at email@example.com or 881-1217.