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| ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Cleanup has begun following a devastating fire this morning in downtown Albuquerque. |
Firefighters were called to the Golden West Saloon on Central Avenue near Seventh Street around 6 a.m. today.
When firefighters arrived, they started fighting the fire from the inside, but quickly got out.
"Our commanders felt like the roof was being compromised, so we took our firefighters out of the building," said Melissa Romero with the Albuquerque Fire Department.
Soon, the roof did collapse, causing backdraft explosions, when the oxygen-starved fire got a sudden increase in oxygen.
The heat could be felt hundreds of feet away.
Crews contained the fire about two hours later.
Near the time they contained the fire, firefighters lost control of a high-pressure hose, which hit two firefighters. One was sent to the hospital with a head injury, while the other was treated on the scene for an ankle injury.
The saloon is a total loss. The neighboring Launchpad nightclub suffered heavy smoke and water damage. A post on the club's Web site says it's temporarily closed.
El Ray Theater, which shares a building with the saloon, suffered minimal smoke and water damage.
The fire sent ripples through the downtown community. The building was built in the 1920s. (More on the building's history)
"Downtown is already fragile," said downtown resident Anna Muller. "It affects all of us."
It also had a more immediate impact on a lot of people in and near downtown.
To protect firefighters, Public Service Company of New Mexico crews shut down power to about 700 customers in the area around 6:45 a.m.
KRQE News 13 was among those customers. The station was briefly knocked off the air before its backup generators kicked n.
Power was restored to most customers around 7:30. Another 39 customers very near the scene were without power until about 1:20 p.m. because of safety concerns.
Several schools nearby are operating on different schedules than usual because of the fire and smoke.
| This news item was added to our database on February 28, 2008. PRY is responsible for keeping this news item's information up to date. This page has been viewed 10092 time(s). |