NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – This wasn’t just any birthday celebration. This was one for the books. Tommie Carter celebrated her 100th birthday Monday at the Crowne Plaza in Albuquerque. It’s a hotel she’s called home since May after her entire life was destroyed in the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon wildfire.

“It burned everything. I had written a story about my life, and it was getting ready to be published, and it got burned,” Carter said.


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For 32 years, her family’s home and property in Mora stood tall. But now, after the fires, it’s not much of anything. “My grandmother (was going to be) 100 on oxygen, so to move her was very trying because she’s not supposed to move without a doctor’s order. But we had to get away from the fire because it was coming close, and we found out a week later that our house was gone,” Benito Sanchez, her grandson, said.

Carter not only survived New Mexico’s largest wildfire, but her family says she’s done it with grace. “We went to break the news to her, and she was rocking in her chair, and she said, all this happened for a reason, you know why? And we go well why, (and she says) because something good is going to happen,” Sanchez said.

Today, she’s not thinking about the losses in her life. Instead, she’s focusing on her future and celebrating the last century. “I don’t know how much more I’ll have to go, but I pray to god. I thank god for giving me all of this time,” Carter said.

After five months, fire officials said the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon fire was 100% contained last month.