The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Rob Langrell

Where's community support after Lizzy's death?


April 30, 2017

Tragedy is always a tough and delicate topic to delve into.

It’s difficult to describe the heartache that came on Tuesday when I learned there had been a fatal house fire in Clovis. Elizabeth “Lizzy” Reid died after her family’s home was engulfed with flames shortly after 4 a.m.

Lizzy was just 20 months old. She never realized the full opportunity to live her life.

Her 3-year-old sister was spending the night at a relative’s house. The two girls’ mother, 26-year-old Amber Martinez, escaped the fire with burns on her arms. A 36-year-old roommate, Jose Galvan, was able to get out of the house uninjured.

It was the first fatal house fire in Clovis in more than two years.

On Tuesday afternoon, I drove past the home located near Sixth and Norris streets as the sun was beginning to set. The smell of smoke still lingered in the air. The destruction to the residence was substantial. A few Mylar balloons were tied to the fence and flowers had been placed near the sidewalk in memory of Lizzy.

I don’t know Amber Martinez, nor did I ever meet her daughters. It doesn’t mean that I can’t realize the pain she must be enduring.

That goes the same for the community as a whole.

Days have passed since the catastrophe. I haven’t seen any press releases or organized efforts on Facebook to help Amber Martinez and her family in their time of need.

I also haven’t been asked to attend a candlelight vigil for Lizzy on the courthouse steps.

I’m not aware of any businesses in the community that have stepped up to assist in replacing all of the household items the family lost. My apologies in advance if you’re part of an effort like that — let us know so we can get the word out in the newspaper.

It was just last month when three airmen from Cannon Air Force Base lost their lives in a tragic accident. Over the next day or two, much of the above actions were quickly in the works. We all also quickly learned the moniker #CannonStrong.

Clovis and its residents rallied together. I heard from a variety of people that the phrase should have actually been #ClovisStrong. That’s because our whole community comes together in times of need, they told.

Should little Lizzy’s life matter any less? I sure hope not.

But where was the support last week after the tragedy?

We’ve since learned that the utilities at the home had been disconnected and that a candle was potentially the cause of the blaze. Amber Martinez told authorities she had been trying to make arrangements for her two daughters to live with other family members or friends.

So many details in this situation sting. Let’s not forget Lizzy nor her mom and sister.

Now is the time they need us all to be #ClovisStrong.

Rob Langrell is the publisher of The Eastern New Mexico News. Contact him at:


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