Historic Belen bowling alley perishes in fire | KOB 4

Historic Belen bowling alley perishes in fire

Grace Reader
Updated: July 12, 2020 10:16 PM
Created: July 12, 2020 05:12 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Fire officials are still trying to determine what caused a historic building in Belen to burn down Sunday morning. 

The abandoned building was once home to Sugar Bowl Lanes.

"My husband could smell smoke, and he came in the bedroom and said, 'Frances, the bowling alley is on fire,'" said Sugar Bowl Lanes owner Frances Romero. "I looked out the window and it was orange from the front to the back. "

Romero's parents were the original owners of the bowling alley. 

"We just came out. I can't believe it. I cannot....I cannot believe it," she said.

Romero is not the only one who had an emotional connection to the old alley. Residents from Belen are sharing her disbelief.

"There's a lot of Belen families who spent a lot of years bowling at the alley, and they had bowling leagues and tournaments and it was a part of our local culture and a part of American culture," said Belen mayor Jerah Cordova.

The inside of the alley has been features in dozens of films over the years.

"The bowling alley has been significant for us, bringing Hollywood productions into Belen," Cordova said. "We've had things like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Last Stand here and a bunch of other productions that have used the bowling alley in some way so it will have an impact."

No one was injured in the fire, but the building itself is completely lost. 

The building, which was already in rough shape before the fire, has been shut down to the public for years.

"I don't even know what to say. I still can't believe it happened. It burned down one time in the movies but this is not a movie," Romero said.

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