Fire engulfs Family Dollar in smoke

The Family Dollar store was engulfed in smoke about 8 p.m. tonight.

Firefighters were concentrating on the store’s back entrance area at Hines and Third streets. No flames were visible.

The discount store’s front entrance is located on the south side of Route 66 at the corner of Third Street.

A Family Dollar clerk at the scene said the store was closed and no customers were in the store.

Tucumcari Fire Chief Mike Cherry said he thought the flames were confined to the back of the building.

About 9:30 p.m., Cherry said firefighters would be staying on the scene to put out hot spots in the back area of the metal building.

Cherry also smoke was throughout the Movie Gallery next to the Family Dollar.

Jodie Romero of the Movie Gallery said a Family Dollar clerk came over to her store at about 8 p.m. and asked if they had a phone to call 911.

“She said they thought they had a fire,” Romero said.

Romero said the Movie Gallery’s phones were no longer working and that a customer volunteered to use her cell phone to call 911.

Three customers were cleared out of the Movie Gallery, Romero said.

“I checked the bathrooms and walked out,” said Romero.

At 10 p.m., firefighters were still on the scene concentrating their efforts on the back area of the building.

One fireman was given oxygen at the scene.

The firefighters were coping with the heat of the fire and their body heat generated by the heavy protective suits and gear.

Several were dousing their heads with water and putting cool cloths on their necks.