Dayton fire destroys home, claims pet |

Dayton fire destroys home, claims pet

F.T. Norton
F.T. Norton/Nevada Appeal Alice Agnew is comforted by a friend after a wildland fire destroyed Rose Peak Drive home in Dayton.

DAYTON – A wildland fire driven by high winds Tuesday destroyed a Dayton home and claimed the life of family pet, described as “the best dog we ever had.”

“The fire started in a backyard on Grosh and the winds drove it to these properties on Rose Peak,” said Rob Loveberg, Lyon County Emergency Management coordinator.

Homeowner Alice Agnew said she was inside her house at 188 Rose Peak Drive while Larry Biller of M&L Hardwood Floors was installing flooring throughout the modular home.

Biller said was eating his lunch in the driveway about 12:30 p.m. when he smelled smoke.

He said when he looked over the neighbor’s back fence, he saw a seven-foot ring of fire in the brush and two men moving propane tanks away.

Biller said he yelled at the men to get a hose.

“They weren’t even kicking dirt on it or anything,” he said.

Then he grabbed Agnew’s hose and tried to wet down her fence.

“But it was made of wood and the wind hit and it went up like a matchbook,” he said.

Agnew said Larry was able to grab her dog Bella and get her to safety. But Zoey, the family’s 3-year-old pitbull-Labrador mix, was tied by a long rope to a travel trailer in the driveway. In the excitement, said Agnew, the frightened dog scampered under the trailer.

“He wasn’t able to get her,” she said. Zoey died in the blaze.

The fire destroyed the garage of the home west of the Agnews’, destroyed the Agnews’ garage and consumed the rear of the Agnew house. It is uninhabitable.

A retired couple, Alice and her husband James D. Agnew bought the home seven years ago.

“It was paid off,” she said sadly. “It’s just a shock to me.”

She said she and her husband will stay on the property in their motor home and rebuild, while their 7-year-old granddaughter, who lived with them, will stay with family.

Crews from Central Lyon County Fire, Carson City Fire Department, Storey County Fire Department, Mason Valley Fire Department, East Fork Fire, Sierra Fire Protection District, North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, Bureau of Land Management and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, Search and Rescue, Lyon County Road Department and Emergency Management all responded.

As James Agnew stared forlornly at his loss, fire crews removed the salvageable items from the interior of the home.

“I been asking and asking for the brush to be cleared from back there,” he said, pointing to the field behind his house that separated his home from the yard on Grosh Avenue where the blaze started.

But it was the senseless loss of Zoey that just made him shake his head.

“She was the best dog we ever had,” he said.

The Nevada State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.