Abandoned house destroyed by fire

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Plumes of black smoke filled the air Monday as fire crews battled a structure fire off of Marble Quarry Road on Belen’s West Mesa.

Brent Ruffner-News-Bulletin photo: A firefighter stands near a burning structure near Marble Quarry Road west of Belen on Monday afternoon. The structure was fully engulfed when crews arrived. No one was injured.

At about 4 p.m., crews responded to a structure fire of an abandoned two-story house that was fully engulfed when emergency personnel arrived on scene.

Crews battled wind gusts of 45 mph and sustained winds of 35 mph, which were recorded by the National Weather Service in Albuquerque on Monday afternoon.

“It was pretty much destroyed by the time we got there,” said Valencia County Fire Marshal Casey Davis.

“The winds didn’t help,” he added.

Davis said crews responded to the same property three to four weeks ago in reference to a structure fire. He said the structure has been abandoned for “quite some time.”

Portions of the structure collapsed as firefighters worked to douse a wood fence and other areas of the building that caught fire. The property is cluttered with trash and is abandoned.

The former owner of the property told the News-Bulletin the house had been frequented by transients.

Davis said crews have responded to the property several times including an occasion where a pile of trash caught fire in the center of the property.

He said that particular location, like others in the county, is “open to anybody” and used for anything from partying to shooting guns.

The fire marshal, who said the structure is a complete loss, hopes to acquire funding to help with costs to demolish abandoned structures in the county, which he says are safety hazards.

Anyone with information about the incident are asked to call the Valencia County Fire Department at 866-2040.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.