Albuquerque family loses everything in house fire

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – An Albuquerque woman and her family are starting from square one after their mobile home caught on fire Monday night and took everything with it.

“I’ve been here forever, I don’t know what’s going to happen now,” said Diane Baldonado. 

Baldonado has struggled with homelessness before. She talked about how much her little home off Menaul meant to her.

“Just memories in there, different memories,” said Baldonado. 

On Monday, she stepped out to drop off her son at work only to come home to smoke and flames.

“I got stuck like frozen. I didn’t know what to do, like if to run in here or what. But my neighbor, her husband was trying to water it down because if anything – the branches here would have caught on fire, and then they would have been on fire,” Baldonado. 

Her nightmare was only beginning when she realized her 2-month-old chihuahua “Petunia” was still in the trailer. 

“That was hard because prior to that I wanted to take her with me that day, but she gets a little wild like a wiggly worm. She was acting wild every time I would go driving, so I said ‘No you have to stay.’ But she wanted to come with me, and she didn’t…I didn’t let her,” said Baldonado. 

Baldonado’s late husband left her the trailer after he passed. It was her safe haven that she took pride in decorating. 

“My daughter’s pictures were in there she just recently graduated, and we had her baby pictures, her photos from when she was a baby – they are all gone. We don’t have any pictures of that anymore, of my husband, the jewelry that he gave me,” she said. 

Now she’s leaning on the community for support. The Red Cross is helping her with a hotel for a few nights and Albuquerque Community Safety is helping them out the rest of the month. 

“I just want to say thank you for everything,” said Baldonado. 

Baldonado doesn’t know what’s next, but is trying to keep the faith.

“It’s awful starting from ground zero. I never thought I would have to do that again, and I’m going to have to do it,” said Baldonado. 

Baldonado still doesn’t know what caused the fire, but after this experience she wants to warn other homeowners of the importance of having a plan and being prepared. Whether that is a fire safe for important items or even a bag of clothes in your car.

Her son also has a GoFundMe page to help them out.