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

Fire destroys Eshleman's building in downtown Clovis


March 30, 2018

Rob Langrell

Clovis fire crews battle a blaze in downtown Clovis.

CLOVIS — Chris Eshleman was in his apartment behind Eshleman’s Art & More building about 9 a.m. Thursday when he “looked up, and it was on fire.”

“I was just sitting there drinking coffee,” he said. “I was surprised.”

Eshleman said the fire appeared to have started in the front of the building, which he said he uses to repair motors. He said he had no idea how the fire started.

Clovis Fire Battalion Chief Joel Gershon said five engines responded to a call at 8:55 a.m. for a structure fire at Eighth and Main that was mostly involved on the Main Street side of the northern part of the building.

Gershon said investigators had not determined how the fire started.

The building is separated into three adjoining structures, so Gershon said crews entered the middle structure to prevent the blaze from spreading to the other sections of the building.

Gershon said the fire was fully involved in an approximately 20 by 30 foot showroom that was filled with knick-knacks and “stuff that would be at a sidewalk sale.”

Gershon said Eshleman’s living quarters and the other adjoining structures were unharmed, but Eshleman’s store had about 80 percent damage.

Gershon said the two occupants of the building escaped unharmed but investigators have been instructed to look for two puppies who were in the area of the blaze, though he said it was unlikely they would be found.

Gershon said firefighters had the blaze under control by 9:20 a.m. Smoke billowed out the front and attracted dozens of sightseers.

Eshleman said he has owned the building for about 15 or 20 years.

Johnny Gomez said his wife owns the former Smyth Auto Supply building next to Eshleman’s. The Gomez building sustained smoke damage, but not fire damage, he said.

Gomez said he’s seen transients “camping out” in the area.

Randy Covington said he lives near the area and watched firefighters fight the blaze.

“As soon as (firefighters broke) the windows, flames were rolling,” he said. Covington said the fire was as tall as the roof of the building.

“It was chaos out here for a bit,” he said.


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