CHIMAYO, N.M. – Investigators are back at the scene of a fire that took the lives of two young girls in Chimayo. They are trying to figure out what sparked the deadly blaze. Video released from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office shows deputies racing to the burning house and their efforts to fight it.
Investigators from the New Mexico Fire Marshal’s Office, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and Santa Fe County Fire Department have been processing the scene all week. “It’s going to take time, it’s a very slow investigation because we want to be accurate in our determination if we do and when we do find a cause to this incident,” said Captain Jimmy Vigil, with the New Mexico Fire Investigations Bureau.
Some of the first responders on the scene on December 4 were Santa Fe County deputies. Lapel video shows a chilling scene of the burning structure as they helped the fire department fight the fire with water hoses.
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Inside, they found the two girls, ages 10 and 12. Investigators say they haven’t received any preliminary reports from medical examiners on the cause of death at this time. A GoFundMe says the girls, Elliana Martinez and Aaleah Carbajal, died from smoke inhalation.
Fire Chief Jackie Lindsey with the Santa Fe County fire department says they’re seeing an increase in fires over the last few weeks. She emphasizes the importance of having working smoke detectors. “It really is critical and there are only minutes, sometimes seconds to get out of a home that is on fire before the smoke can overtake you and cause unconsciousness so people need to have a plan, they need to have working smoke detectors,” said Lindsey.
She encourages anybody who needs help installing a smoke detector to reach out to their local fire department. She says they have installed 49 smoke detectors into homes in the Chimayo area since the fatal fire.
The GoFundMe set up to help the girls ‘parents with funeral costs is more than halfway to its goal of $12,000.