ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A fire at the Mountain View Apartments Thursday afternoon has left dozens without a home. Now those residents are demanding the management company do more to get them off the streets, some saying they are still in shock after Thursday’s incident. “In less than five minutes, it consumed my whole apartment. It was over my whole life. My life was burned up in less than five minutes,” said resident Jack Rhodes.
Neighbors say the fire broke out around noon in a building in one of the upper units. “I asked what happened, and he said to put a can of lacquer thinner on the stove, and it exploded, so I grabbed the fire extinguisher and went onto the other apartment behind me and opened the door, and the flames went everywhere,” added Rhodes.
Albuquerque fire rescue says five apartments were affected directly by the flames, with several others experiencing smoke and water damage. Now what is left of the building is a caved-in roof, broken and boarded-up windows, and a perimeter fence preventing anyone from going back in.
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“Everybody is displaced, we are all homeless, everybody in the unit over 30 people, so I’m hoping next week we’ll have some good news, but I really don’t know what they are doing,” said Rhodes.
For the time being, Rhodes says he has nowhere else to go after calling the apartments home for the past nine years. “This is my home, it’s still my home, and I stay here. I come here when I wake up, and I stay until dark. I don’t have anywhere to go.”
Rhodes says he’s been returning to the same spot hoping to see one of his two cats who went missing during the fire. “Smokey Bear wasn’t able to get her, but I’ve been going around the apartment setting food outside hoping maybe she jumped, and I come out here from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m,”
Rhodes says the apartment complex terminated the leases and refunded security deposits to those affected. The red cross also gave each of them $500. Rhodes and other residents say they are hopeful after they were told by the management company they’d be put on a list for housing. KRQE reached out to the property managers but has not heard back.