Edgewood police investigate Walmart fire as arson

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EDGEWOOD, N.M. – The Edgewood Police Department is investigating a fire at the local Walmart as arson.

Multiple area fire departments responded to a large fire around 8 p.m. Sunday night at the Walmart in Edgewood.

Police Chief Darrell Sanchez said they are working with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. They do have persons of interest but they are not releasing any other details Monday.

According to Santa Fe County Fire Chief Jackie Lindsey, crews arrived and found multiple fires within the store. Crews worked to put out the fire with a ladder truck unit.

Santa Fe fire crews called for support from five Albuquerque Fire Rescue units and units from Torrance, Bernalillo and Santa Fe counties. No firefighters were injured. All employees and customers were accounted for.

Walmart remained closed Monday and cleanup crews appeared to begin work on the buildings. There’s no timeline on when Walmart will open back up. Officials said they are still assessing the damages.

A spokesperson for Walmart sent a statement:

“Thanks to Edgewood emergency crews for their quick response in getting last night’s fire under control. We’re still assessing overall losses, and it’s too soon to estimate how long the store be closed. We’re also working on available opportunities for store associates while we recover from the damage.”

Many people showed up to Walmart Monday only to be turned away.

“The goal was to find out what I needed to do for my prescriptions,” said Jeanette Mares-Jones, a local resident.

She said her prescriptions are being rerouted to Albuquerque. The Walmart in Edgewood is closed until further notice, but it’s one of the only spots for one-stop shopping in the entire area.

“That’s country living,” said Lane Saan Moonwalker, a resident who lives outside of Moriarty.

Moonwalker made the 25-minute trip only to be turned away.

“Now it’s an hour for me to get something as simple as a schedule book,” said Moonwalker. “That’s what I’m here for.”

But it’s much more than just shopping, it’s about livelihood.

“I was thinking what these guys are doing? They’re costing these people their jobs,” said John Cosentino, a local resident. “You know, in the community, it’s a lot.”

This Walmart has many employees.

“For the employees, especially for the holidays, they’re displaced as far as employment,” said Jeanette Mares-Jones. “Hopefully Walmart will take care of them.”

A spokesperson for Walmart said they are working on available opportunities for store associates while they recover from the damage.

As the cleanup continues and the arson investigation gets underway, people are already packing the parking lot of the Smith’s just down the road.

“It’s not normally this busy,” said Cosentino. “Not until usually the evening, afternoon evening hours.”

He said the Smith’s is really is the only other option, aside from a few other smaller stores in Moriarty.

Coupled with hiccups in the supply chain and the worker shortage, shopping may get a lot more complicated.

“This is where it’s going to be a lot busier for people to get those essential goods,” said Rebecca Stratton, another area resident. “Walmart does hold a lot more product though. You know, and sometimes it’s at a better price. I hate to say it but it’s a better deal.”

If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact Crime Stoppers at 505-955-5050 or the Edgewood Police Department at 505-428-3710.