SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) – Young wrestlers and dancers in one New Mexico city are looking for a new place to practice after an Easter Sunday fire tore through a strip mall in their hometown. Investigators say that the fire was deliberately set.
Socorro Warrior Wrestling and Rising Star Dance Studio will be scrambling to stay in business for months. Socorro Warrior Wrestling has been serving the town of 8,000 for a dozen years.
Joel Partridge said almost everything was destroyed in the fire. “Nothing salvageable whatsoever in any part of this building from wall to wall,” said Partridge. “We’ve poured so much time and heart into this place and to lose it, it’s been really hard on the coaching staff and the families that are involved not just me there’s a lot of people involved in this process.”
Socorro Fire Chief Lawrence Baca said the call came in at around 4 p.m. and crews put out the fire within an hour. They secured the area and called the fire state marshal to investigate. “So right now the cause of the fire they are stating it is arson but just no suspects at the time,” said Baca.
The fire left Socorro Warrior Wrestling with $90,000 in losses. They’ve received lots of support from the community and throughout the state. One backer even created a GoFundMe page to help them rebuild.
“We’re only going to have three little fundraisers, the GoFundMe and then a little enchilada dinner that’s going to be organized by one of the firefighters; his daughter went through the wrestling program and we’ll do a raffle,” said Partridge.
Joel’s sister, Jenelle, is the owner of Rising Star Dance Studio and said her studio was vandalized around the same time the fire was set. Lights were broken and chairs were destroyed. “I’m pushing through it; it’s all about the kids. We’re going to get them going again,” said Partridge.
The wrestling club did have some equipment stored off-site. For now, those wrestlers will practice in a school gym. The dance studio will also have to find a new site because of smoke damage in the studio.