Fire officials investigate cause of Rio Rancho clubhouse fire
October 07, 2019 10:45 PM
RIO RANCHO, N.M.—Flames could be seen spilling out of the abandoned Rio Rancho country club building Friday night.
Officials said the roof had collapsed when they arrived on scene, leaving them no choice but to let it burn.
Fire investigators said they have not ruled out arson as the cause
Rio Rancho residents are desperate for answers.
“I've been here basically all of my life,” said resident Edward Lovato. “And as long as I’ve been here this country club has been around and it's been kind of a pillar in the community. So it's kind of sad and unfortunates to see what happened to it."
Firefighters worked for hours to keep the flames under control.
“Who knows where we go from here,” Lovato said. “I just hope they do a full thorough investigation and find out really what happened here. If there is any wrongdoing, that those people be held accountable."
Rio Rancho Fire Department and the State Fire Marshal are doing just that.
Fire investigators told KOB 4 they have grabbed samples from the most charred areas. The samples were sent to a lab to see if any accelerants were used and if chemical residue was left behind.
“To see an iconic building like this come to an end like this is absolutely devastating,” said Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull.
Mayor Hull admits he does not know what will happen to the building or how long it will be an eyesore.
“Unfortunately because of its private property, we won't know what that next step is until the property owner makes some decisions,” Mayor Dhull said.
The owner told KOB 4 they were planning on rehabilitating the existing clubhouse structure, but now they will start over and build new.
“The silver lining to this fire disaster is that we can now design a new, modern structure and still take advantage of those amazing views,” said the building’s developer Josh Skarsgard.
But the mayor promises he will work with the developer, “so that it doesn't become even more of a nuisance."
Police said in the past they've responded to calls to the abandoned clubhouse ranging from a suspicious person in the area to reports of burglary all over the last year. Fire investigators said it will take at least a week to get those lab results back.
Created: October 07, 2019 10:45 PM
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