Lawsuit claims train started 416 fire near Durango | KOB 4

Lawsuit claims train started 416 fire near Durango

Meg Hilling
September 11, 2018 09:02 PM

DURANGO, COLO. – A lawsuit has been filed against the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, alleging it was the cause of the 416 Fire.


The lawsuit was filed by the Lawrence M. Cohen Family Trust, three businesses and several homeowners. The lawsuit also names the owner of the railroad, Al Harper, as a defendant.

"Now the forest service report is not out yet, but there is no doubt in our minds, based on the homework that we've done, that the fire was caused by the train," plaintiff attorney, Bobby Duthie said.

According to Duthie, given the economic weight the railroad carries as a tourism attraction for Durango, the decision to pursue a lawsuit was not easy.

"The damages are significant to the people in Durango. And because it involves the Narrow Gauge train and Mr. Harper, I think everybody is conflicted. Just like I struggled on whether or not I should take this case in the first place," Duthie said.

The lawsuit claims the fire was started by sparks and embers from the train's coal engine and that the train's operator should have known the risks because of the dry conditions.

"It's really not the train that is the problem. It's the management of the train and the decision to put the train on the tracks, June 1st, 2018," Duthie said.

The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad informed KOB it would not be commenting pending litigation.


Meg Hilling

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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