Wind-driven fires keep area firefighters busy

Wind-driven fires keep area firefighters busy

15 March 2008

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New Mexico, USA — The strong winds that whipped through Southeastern New Mexico Friday and Saturday had Eddy County firefighters spread thin as they battled blazes across a two-county area, fire officials said.

Serious fires on both days destroyed a home south of town on Old Cavern Highway, and several structures, travel trailers and motor vehicles were damaged or destroyed during Saturday’s fire near Radio Boulevard and Standpipe Road.

According to fire official Robert Brader, the Friday fire started when the wind broke the electrical power feed coming into the home.

“The arcing from that caught the attic on fire and also caught the grass on fire,” Brader said.

The grass fire, in turn, threatened neighboring properties and was “within minutes of destroying a couple of other homes” when firefighters brought it under control, he said.

The name of the owners of the home, which was a total loss, was not immediately available Saturday.

Brader said a number of departments responded to the blaze, including units from Carlsbad Fire department and volunteer units from Joel, Loving, Otis and Happy Valley.

But that wasn’t all that was going in Friday afternoon.

At the same time as the residential fire, Otis, Joel and Carlsbad units were assisting with a large grass fire in Lea County, between Hobbs and Lovington.

The Loco Hills and Atoka volunteer departments were helping fight a fire near Maljamar, also in Lea County.

And area firefighters had earlier assisted with a fire at a dairy at Cottonwood.

Brader said Eddy County also got a call for help from Roswell, where another large grass fire occurred Friday, but could not send anyone because of the numerous fires already underway.

Many of the same firefighters were called out late Saturday afternoon when several districts, departments and agencies were called out to a fire east of the intersection of Radio Boulevard and Standpipe Road.

Initially, according to dispatches, the fire originated in some scrub brush but was threatening residential structures to the east. Firefighters from Happy Valley, Otis, Joel, Carlsbad and the Bureau of Land Management were among those responding to the call which was placed shortly before 4 p.m.

In addition, the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office and Carlsbad Police Department were called to control traffic, blocking all but essential access to Tower Road and Radio. Carlsbad Animal Control was also dispatched to the scene to help control and relocate some small livestock in the affected area. Some residents were allowed in the area to remove pets after the primary fire was knocked down.

Several residential units, motor vehicles and travel trailers were involved in the fire, sustaining smoke damage or destruction by the flames.

Neither cause of the fire, nor cost estimates of damage was available as of deadline.

Firefighters remained on the scene for some time to put out hot spots in the scrub brush, as protecting the residential units was the priority.

Later Saturday, units were called to an area near the Eddy County Sheriff’s Posse Arena. No details were available as of deadline.


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