Albuquerque grocery store scorched in early morning fire
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Akmal Awad and his family drove up to their business Wednesday morning and found a melted sign, charred produce, and a store covered in ashes.
Albuquerque Fire Rescue crews were called to the Sais Food Mart on Louisiana and Trumbull around 2 a.m. Wednesday.
Fire officials say a witness told them it looked like there was a campfire going by the front entrance.
AFR confirmed that the fire started by the front door, but it’s still under investigation.
Awad says he thinks homeless people started the fire.
“As we really thought about it, maybe it’s like, some homeless people,” Awad said. “And you know, like, just to get warm for a second, they lit a half million dollars on fire is crazy.”
Awad said this isn’t the first time, and in the past, homeless people have set trash on fire in the back alley behind the store. However, it never left behind this kind of damage.
AFR says their inventory is a total loss but the building is salvageable.
The store owners say the bigger loss is to the community. They are losing another food store after the Walmart on San Mateo closed and the Allsup’s just down the street shut its doors as well.
“It was very important because everyone felt like this was like, their own store,” Awad said. “We were nice with everybody. You know, everyone felt like they’re at home with us.”
Now, the family says they’ll pick up the charred pieces and start again.