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

Afternoon fire in Tucumcari turns fatal


January 29, 2020

Emily Priddy

Firefighters battle a blaze at a house at 1910 S. Rock Island Street in Tucumcari on Friday afternoon. At least one person was confirmed dead in the fire.

New Mexico State Police officers were investigating a fire Friday evening that claimed the life of at least one Tucumcari resident.

The fire broke out Friday afternoon at 1910 S. Rock Island St.

Quay County Sheriff Russell Shafer confirmed at least one fatality. He said New Mexico State Police were taking over the investigation.

A supervising state police trooper at the scene declined to comment, but said the agency would issue a statement later.

Shafer, speaking at the scene about 5 p.m. Friday, said the cause of the blaze was "undetermined right now," but a fire marshal was on the way from Logan to investigate.

Shortly after 4 p.m., a plume of smoke could be seen from several blocks away as firefighters from the Tucumcari Fire Department and Rural Fire District No. 1 tried to bring the fire under control.

Thick, white smoke rolled off the building as firefighters directed a stream of water through a broken west-facing window, and the metal roof appeared to be partially caved in near the south end of the home.

A woman at the scene said her grandparents lived in the house and likely were home at the time of the fire.

By 4:23 p.m., flames were showing at the upper part of the south end of the house, and a sheriff's deputy at the scene told the woman that emergency workers couldn't go into the house yet because the roof was collapsing.

The smoke had shifted to black by 4:30 p.m., and several firefighters entered with a hose through the front door.

Within 10 minutes, the smoke had diminished. The north end of the house was blackened, and the east side of the structure appeared to have heavy damage.

Shortly before 5 p.m., several state troopers approached and spoke with firefighters at the scene.

Moments later, two women began screaming as they talked with police.

A group of people with the women could be seen comforting them as deputies began putting up crime-scene tape in front of the property and across Rock Island Street just north of Charles Street.

Five fire engines and other emergency vehicles, including several ambulances and smaller trucks, went to the scene.

This story will be updated as additional details become available.


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