Firefighters respond to church fire in southeast Albuquerque | KOB 4

Firefighters respond to church fire in southeast Albuquerque

Marian Camacho and Joy Wang
February 23, 2018 05:26 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Albuquerque firefighters were quick to put out a blaze at an abandoned church in southeast Albuquerque. Crews were called to the Trinity United Methodist Church building near Central and Carlisle at 6:23 a.m. Friday.


Units arrived on scene to find smoke billowing from the church doors and windows.  Crews idenitified the fire was in the basement and were able to put it out within 30 minutes.

The church has been a problem spot in recent months, according to neighbors in the area. City employees were there just a few days before the blaze to board up the building and make sure no one can get in. 

But City Councilor Pat Davis says that wasn't enough to stop people from ripping the boards down and going to the basement. 

"Today's fire is sort of the last straw, as far as I'm concerned," Davis said on Friday. "It's been a year now, and we know the owner has been incarcerated. He's got some challenges in keeping up with the place."

AFD Chief Paul Dow added there have been several "nuisance fires" at the location in recent months, and the department is currently working with city officials to figure out better ways of securing the building. 

Davis, meanwhile, said the city can do more. 

"We have had a lot of crime activity, graffiti, now several fires and it's taking up a lot of city resources. Now we're sending out firefighters to put out the fire and board it up all over again? It means that the owner can't take care of it themselves," he said. "It's time for us to step in."

Davis said that can be a long process, but the next steps involve going to court, appointing someone to take care of the property, having city officials clean it up and billing the owner until a better solution is found.

AFD officials say no one was injured in the blaze, and the exact cause is under investigation.


Marian Camacho and Joy Wang

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