BELEN — An early morning fire in Belen is being investigated by local and state authorities.
Jason Gonzales, the fire marshal in Los Lunas, was on scene Monday morning after a structure fire nearly destroyed one apartment at 1015 S. Main St. He said firefighters were called to the scene just before 6 a.m. Monday, Dec. 6.
“I got called out to assist with the investigation process,” Gonzales said. “The crew did a good job of helping the fire from progressing to other parts of the (apartment). It’s a duplex, and the other (apartment) was saved.
Gonzales said the property owner told fire investigators he walked out of his bedroom because he heard glass breaking.
“Then he saw the fire on the couch, and was able to get himself and his dog out,” Gonzales said.
The fire marshal said there was no damage to the other apartment, and the man and the other occupants were not injured.
“It’s pretty well damaged in the living room and kitchen,” Gonzales said of the damage to the apartment. “There wasn’t too much damage to the bedroom or laundry room.”
With help from the state fire marshal’s office, Gonzales said the cause is currently undetermined.
“We’ll be concentrating our investigation on where he saw the fire — on the couch,” he said. “It’s too early to make a determination right now. We don’t know if it’s intentional or accidental. He said he heard the glass break, so we don’t know if the glass broke due to the fire or if someone threw something in there.”
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.