Brothel owner devastated by fire |

Brothel owner devastated by fire

Kim Lamb / Lahontan Valley News / A chimney and a storage shed are all that's left of what was once an operating brothel.

The woman who owns Salt Wells Villa said Tuesday she is saddened by a fire that destroyed the property she hoped to reopen as a brothel before the end of the year.

Tia Maria Torres said she wants to “create a mini paradise” on the Salt Wells property 15 miles east of Fallon.

“I hope to have small exotic cats and tropical birds. It will be very relaxing and very simplistic,” Torres said about her plans to rebuild a brothel in Churchill County.

She bought the property last year after deciding that owning and operating a brothel would earn income to support her non-profit animal rescue foundation in Southern California. Salt Wells closed down in 2004 amid financial troubles and code violations.

“I want to continue on with its legacy but create a different flair,” the Agua Dulce, Calif., woman said. “I’m a small-town girl and I want to create a Garden of Eden-type atmosphere.”

Torres was notified of the Sunday morning fire that completely destroyed buildings which housed the bar, living quarters and rooms where the prostitutes took customers. “Now I know how people feel when they come home and find their house has been robbed,” she said about the news of the fire. “I feel so violated. It feels horrible. I’m devastated but am more devastated for the local people.”

Torres, 47, said now that the buildings have been reduced to charred rubble, she doesn’t know if that will make it easier or harder to gain county approval to open a brothel.

“I’m at their mercy,” she said.

Agua Dulce is smaller than Fallon, Torres said, and she fell in love with Churchill County on previous visits.

“I love all the ranches. Nevada has always been the other state I wanted to live in. I’m a free-spirited person and Nevada is a free-spirited state,” said Torres.

She decided to get into the brothel business after seeing friends in the adult entertainment business continue to prosper despite national economic setbacks.

“Sex sells. It’s the only industry that never fails in the economy. That’s when I got the idea to start a brothel and generate money for my non-profit,” she said.

She plans to survey the damage next week.

“I’ll come out and sit on the dirt and cry,” Torres said.

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