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“Pretty alarming:” Hatch residents describe fire that destroyed five structures

Twenty-four hours after a fire ripped through a Hatch neighborhood, residents are shocked their homes were spared.

“We had just seen the neighbor’s yard start up on fire,” said Paul Martinez, who lives right next to a home destroyed by the fire. “It was pretty alarming and shocking.”​

Crews battled the Sunday afternoon fire for nearly twelve hours, said Chief Willie Herrera of the Hatch Volunteer Fire Department. Two houses, a double-wide mobile home and two RV trailers were destroyed in just a few hours in the neighborhood, north of Our Lord of Mercy on Hartman Street.

“The wind was against us,” Herrera told ABC-7.

Firefighters from at least six southern New Mexico departments – including New Mexico State, Rincon and Doña Ana County – battled the flames. On Monday, CenturyLink crews worked to repair the phone lines, which had totally melted.

“We had a fear that the wind was going to pick up a lot worse,” Martinez said. “It could have taken out the rest of the surrounding houses.”

Twenty-four hours after the fire, Louie Gomez cleaned up the weeds at his 70-year-old cousin’s home, which did not catch fire. He told ABC-7 that there is a lot of dry brush in the neighborhood.

“It could have been his house,” Gomez said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Chief Herrera did not have an estimate of the damage on Monday afternoon.

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