Two fires disrupt nonprofit that supports women | KOB 4

Two fires disrupt nonprofit that supports women

Grace Reader
Updated: January 11, 2021 06:31 PM
Created: January 11, 2021 12:36 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Street Safe New Mexico is dealing with the aftermath of two fires at their drop-in center in the International District. 

"It's more than a building, it's a refuge," said Christine Barber, the executive director of Street Safe New Mexico. 

Their drop-in center had a recent rat infestation caused by the abandoned building next door. The nonprofit finally convinced the city to tear down the abandoned building, but until that happens, they've had to relocate. 

They don't want to give up that space, but 2021 has brought some new setbacks. Last week, someone set a chair on fire right outside of their door. 

"That kind of thing, burning a chair in front of our front door, that's pretty normal," Barber said. "We're a business on Central in the International District, that's a pretty normal problem."

Then, last Sunday, they got a call that the abandoned building next door had caught fire too. 

"Because we share a wall, there was no way to... we basically had that fire as well," Barber said. 

However, Street Safe believes someone who worked for the city, saved not only their building, but went above and beyond to clear water out, move furniture out of harms way and make sure nobody was able to break into the building. 

"If we had had all that water damage and anybody else had broken in while the door was open, I don't know what we would have done," Barber said. "We would have been set back months if not another year." 

They want whoever saved their space to know how grateful they are. 

"You didn't just do your job, you saved a building that was more than a building to us and the women on the street," Barber said. "In the short time we were able to help and provide services, it became a part of the community. The women on the street know where we are. We literally had women who were running from traffickers trying to kill them run into our gate, stay here until the police could come pick them up."

Because of that anonymous person's efforst, Street Safe hopes to be back in their building, helping women in need, soon. 

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