Family’s home burns down after entire Lordsburg fire department walks out

New Mexico

LORDSBURG, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico city has been without a fire department after the entire department resigned. Now, one family who just lost everything in a house fire is pleading with the city to keep this from happening to someone else.

It is a total loss. “We lost everything,” Rosemary Gomez said. “We have to start over.”

Gomez’s home in Lordsburg caught fire Sunday afternoon. “It went really quick, and it was an explosion,” Gomez said. “All my neighbors heard it from like two miles down.”

The problem is, Lordsburg doesn’t have a fire department anymore. “Where is the [fire department]?” Gomez asked. “I don’t know. We called them already. They are not here yet. They said to wait there. Nothing we can do.”

Last month, the entire volunteer fire department of Lordsburg resigned amid a pay dispute with the city. When KRQE News 13 called the number listed for the fire department online, the police department picked up. Hidalgo County Fire Marshal David Whipple said the county’s volunteer fire department has been responding to Lordsburg’s calls but they are stretched thin. “Hidalgo County is a fire district so we cover a very large area of the county,” Whipple said. “We are also helping cover the southern part of Grant County as well, so we have a lot on our plate. To take on Lordsburg was definitely a burden.”

His crew responded to the fire at Gomez’s home Sunday but it was too late to save the home by the time they arrived. He said it’s been the only call they’ve had to respond to since the walkout. “I think we are jeopardizing life and property,” Whipple said. “It is definitely scary, and I voiced my concerns a couple of times already.”

In a statement, the mayor of Lordsburg said that Hidalgo County is providing support to the city until the city’s new fire chief and volunteers complete their training. News 13 asked when that would happen, but did not receive a response. Gomez hopes it is soon. “Just have the city put up the fire department really quick,” Gomez said. “They should have had somebody there faster because someone will die next time. Nobody is going to be there.”

The fire marshal said he is also concerned about what may happen to homeowners’ insurance and businesses’ insurance with the city not having a functioning fire department. There are several fundraisers going on for the Gomez family.

Donations can be made the following ways:

  • Western Bank: To donate directly to the family, you can make a deposit into the Rosemary Gomez Family account at any Western Bank location.
  • GoFundMe: Rose Street Fire Fund
  • In-person donations: 95 Lee Trevino Drive in Glen Acres or make small item donations to Lordsburg City Hall located at 409 West Wabash Street or the Hildago County Manager’s Office located at 305 Pyramid Street
  • Mail: Donations can be sent to Rosemary Gomez Family at 95 Lee Trevino Drive, Lordsburg, New Mexico 88045.

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