ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A fire at an abandoned fraternity house off Yale and Lomas near UNM’s campus has students worried for their safety. The fire is the second at an abandoned building in the area, in less than six months.
UNM students who live near the abandoned building along Greek Row say problems at abandoned buildings in the area are all too common. “There’s definitely a pattern, I don’t know after last night. It’s definitely a little stressful, I don’t know if I feel safe here,” said UNM student, Elena Martinez.
Several students say the problems in the area seem to keep getting worse, with homeless people hanging out in the abandoned building, along the back alleyways, and the properties nearby. Back in June, another abandoned fraternity house right next door caught fire. Albuquerque Fire and Rescue said at that time, it was started by a homeless person.
Today, AFR would not say whether they suspect a homeless person had anything to do with last night’s fire. However, students say they wouldn’t be surprised, calling the abandoned buildings along Greek Row a welcome sign for the homeless. “It definitely promotes it, I wouldn’t say a magnet, but it definitely makes it more of an inviting place for people to do stuff next door which is kind of bad because we see people all the time,” said Ethan Weiner. “I definitely think it could have been an accident by an unhoused civilian, something like that,” added Martinez.
Monday evening, it took crews several hours into the night to contain the fire, which sustained most of its damage on the backside. An AFR spokesperson says other than smoke damage to a nearby building, no other buildings were threatened.
As for the future of the former fraternity house, which has since been destroyed by the fire, a developer had plans to take over the property and build a brand new student housing complex. KRQE reached out to that developer to see how the fire may affect those plans but did not hear back. AFR says the cause of the fire is still under investigation.