Stores to repair, reopen

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Clean up from a fire Sunday night that engulfed the Family Dollar store and its neighbor, Movie Gallery, appears to be underway.
The stores will reopen, said representatives of both retailers.

A large waste container was placed in front of the Family Dollar on Tuesday.

The New Mexico State Fire Marshal and Tucumcari Fire Chief Mike Cherry looked over the fire damage on Monday morning.
On Tuesday, Cherry said the fire was still under investigation by the state’s fire marshal and that the occupant and the building’s owners would also be calling in their own fire cause and origin specialists to investigate.

Early indications are that “it does look accidental,” Cherry said.

Also, on Tuesday, firefighters were called out again to put out a small fire that re-ignited at the Family Dollar store, said Cherry. One fire truck responded to the fire.

Ten emergency fire vehicles, including one EMS unit, were called out about 8 p.m. on Sunday night to fight the blaze at Route 66 and Third Street, said Cherry. Twenty-one firefighters extinguished the blaze about 11:30 p.m. and left the scene early Monday morning, he said.

“It could possibly be two to four months before we open for business again,” said Family Dollar store manager Rhonda Kandel.
“We are still waiting to see how extensive the damage is. The rear of the building and roof were damaged by the fire and there is smoke damage throughout the building,” she said.

At Movie Gallery, “we got the electricity back on,” said Felicia Rodriguez, store manager. “We’re waiting to see what the maintenance evaluation will be.”

Officials from the store’s corporate headquarters in Dothan, Ala., will be coming to do an inspection, Rodriguez said.

“There’s a real smokey smell inside. It might be in a couple of weeks. I’m really not sure. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

For customers who still have movie rentals out, “from Sunday on, there will be no late fees,” said Rodriguez. “I’ve had several people call and ask me about that.

“And while the fire was going on one lady gave me back her movie (rental),” Rodriguez said.

This month, so far, there have been 20 calls to the fire department, Cherry said.

“Normally, we average about 12,” Cherry said. “It’s been unusual. Two of the calls were for standbys at the airport, where everything turned out OK.”

Tucumcari has had two significant structure fires in the last five weeks. On June 8, the two-story Sands-Dorsey caught fire.

“Fortunately, no one has been injured,” Cherry said.

Thomas Garcia contributed to this report.