ALBUQUERQUE, NM — As temperatures drop, the danger of hearth solely will increase, particularly on the subway.
A large subway hearth drew quite a bit of consideration, however for the residents of UNM’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon dwelling, issues have been critical.
“So the first thing I did was grab him and I was like, ‘Hey, let’s grab my TV and my PS4.’ I thought, ‘Let’s get out of here!’ I didn’t care about anything else. I just grabbed my PS4 and TV and ran out of here looking weird holding it all,” said Javier Roueda, a student at UNM.
Jokes aside, Roueda says the vacant house next door on Monte Vista Drive was a magnet for trouble.
“It was on hearth and the flames truly hit our home,” Roueda said. “This is where the homeless would hang out the most. They break into things and stuff and sometimes they throw rocks at our windows and stuff. For example, this window here, everything cracked, a stone was thrown at it.
Data now reveals that vacant properties like this one in Albuquerque usually tend to catch hearth.
“We discover that homeless individuals are occupying these buildings,” said AFR Lt. Tom Ruiz.
Therefore, KOB 4 requested the addresses of all vacant or abandoned property fires in Albuquerque dating back to the fall before the pandemic. Since October 2019 there have been a total of 142.
The data shows some clusters in the International District, but vacant buildings are catching fire in all corners of the city — and with greater frequency.
In the colder months leading up to the pandemic, the Albuquerque Fire Department responded to 15 fires in vacant buildings. In the same period, it was 24 next year and 27 last year.
In 2020, during the pandemic, there were only 29 fires on vacant lots in Albuquerque. That number rose to 52 last year, and this year we’ve already seen 50 – with the busiest period yet to come.
“Has the issues subsequent door – does that trouble you at all?
“It’s a bit annoying, but we kind of keep to ourselves. It’s all cool, especially around here you don’t want to get involved in anything that could harm you. We’re more focused on each other’s safety,” Roueda mentioned.
Albuquerque Fire Department officers say they do not have a solution as to why they’re seeing an increase, however their main focus is on life, security and property safety.
“Lots of folks might have been injured. Luckily nobody did,” mentioned Roueda.