DAVENPORT, Calif. (KRON) — The CZU Lightning Complex fire was fierce and relentless when it burned along Swanton Road just east of the ocean and north of Davenport.
Many large houses were destroyed. It also left a local treasure, Swanton Pacific Ranch, in ashes. Its 100-year-old steam engines were inside a round house when the fire swept through the ranch.
The unique ranch was built in the 1800s by the Swantons, the same family who built the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Its owners were train enthusiasts, and they constructed a third-scale working steam railway weaving through the forest.
The ranch’s buildings are now in ruins with only the chimneys still standing. Smoke was still rising from hot ashes. Crews equipped with chainsaws were busy working nearby trying to clean up destruction on a neighboring property.