SE Albuquerque food mart catches fire for second time this month
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The hits keep coming for a popular food mart in the southeast part of Albuquerque. For the second time in a month, it’s caught fire.
The Sais Food Mart caught fire for the second time Wednesday around 1 a.m. and residents are shocked by the stroke of bad luck the food mart has had. They are also on the hunt for a new place to get groceries as options diminish.
“This building burned also on Nov. 1 and on that fire, the fire was contained to the front of the structure and the awning, and it did get onto the roof. This fire was much bigger and looked like it consumed most of the interior and some of the structure as well,” said Lt. Jason Fejer with Albuquerque Fire Rescue.
Fejer said last time the cause was determined to be an outside fire that got out of hand, and this time it looks like history is repeating itself.
A resident KOB 4 spoke to – who did not want to be identified – said she has her suspicions on how it started.
“We have to do something about these homeless, they make this neighborhood look bad. All our stores are closing down because of them, they are breaking windows, burning things down, you know, we really don’t know what to do about them,” she said.
James Sweet said he used to go there multiple times a week, “It was just a nice little store, you know, close to where I live, easy to get to where I didn’t have to go all the way down to Smith’s down on Montgomery.”
As nearby stores close, residents are once again faced with the challenge of a growing food desert.
“Even then the Walmart near here closed down, everything here is closing down. The Walgreens down the street closed down, there isn’t very many options other than driving all the way down to Eubank and Wyoming,” said Sherice Montaño.
“It was really nice, it was like having a small store right there that had a little bit of everything. Now it’s gone, and I’m kind of devastated by it. Now I have to take the 157 line all the way to Smith’s on Montgomery to get food,” said Sweet.
The Albuquerque Fire Department said now that the weather is cooling down, there have been several incidents where outdoor fires have caught onto structures.
As a proactive measure, AFR is also working on a pilot program to address some of these outdoor fires before they get out of control.
The department wants to staff a truck to respond 24/7 to areas where they see a lot of these outdoor fires.