Firefighters find three dead inside outbuilding, Clovis police say
November 27, 2017 06:09 PM
CLOVIS, N.M. -- Police have identified the victims of a Sunday fire afternoon that killed three people.
Clovis police say the fire happened on Calhoun Street in a garage that had been converted into a type of living or hangout area toward the back of the home.
Officers identified the victims as 54-year-old John Sandoval, 51-year-old Robert Elebario and 52-year-old Billie Jo Grabowsky; 53-year-old Rogelio Hernandez survived.
The state fire marshal was on scene to help with the investigation, but a friend of the victim said it might have been a welding accident because Sandoval was fixing her bike.
"He was welding the frame of my bike because it was split and the seat was messing up," Magnolia Prince said. "And so he was welding the seat and the frame, and I don't know what happened from there. I tried texting him several times during the daytime and no response."
Prince was heartbroken after hearing the news that three of her friends in the fire. She said Sandoval would let her stay during tough times. She said Sandoval had six children; the youngest was only 4 years old.
"I can't believe it it's just like a nightmare," Prince said.
Neighbors said they had to pull out an air condition unit to pull Hernandez out. He went to the hospital Sunday and was released that night.
"He had some assistance from neighbors who could smell some fire and came out and assisted him," said Clovis Police Capt. Roman Romero.
Police say the makeshift apartment only had one exit. They're urging everyone to plan ahead in case of a fire and make sure there are multiple ways to get out.
Updated: November 27, 2017 06:09 PM
Created: November 27, 2017 03:49 PM
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