MORIARTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Many people in a Moriarty neighborhood were told to leave their homes Sunday as a fire sparked near the Moriarty Municipal Airport, burning nearly 200 acres and multiple homes.
“I lost everything. I lost all my kids baby pictures, ultrasounds, and all my family’s photos. Everything that had to deal with my family,” said Richard Phillips, a resident who lost his home in the fire.
Although most families are now able to return home as all evacuations were lifted, and the fire is out in the Echo Ridge Neighborhood, some families lost their home due to the fire. Phillips and his family have nothing to go home to. He said he knew his home was a lost cause.
“Me and a bunch of the residents around me grabbed shovels and started trying to get the fire out. We got engulfed in the fire when it reached towards the house and then there was no saving it. We moved on to try to help other people,” said Phillips.
The Torrance County emergency manager, Samantha O’Dell, said the grass fire started around 11 Sunday morning. According to O’Dell, there was 1 injured firefighter at Sunday’s fire who was taken to a local hospital. He has since been released.
Officials said the high winds Sunday caused struggles for crews trying to get things under control. Different departments from around the state including Santa Fe, Bernalillo, and Sandoval County Fire Department’s were also on scene investigating the cause of the fire and preventing any possible flare ups.
“We had multiple grass fires. We also have 3 confirmed homes that have burned within the area, and 7 confirmed out buildings,” said O’Dell.
Despite losing his home, Phillips is just relieved everyone is okay. Phillips added, “The thing that I can say is my fiancé and her child is safe. I’m safe. My neighbors that I love dearly…they are safe. That’s basically where I’m at.”
He mentioned he knows his neighborhood is behind him. “I might have lost everything, but people are helping us,” said Phillips.
Many who live in the neighborhood sat in their vehicles for hours as they waited to hear more information. “Just worried and honestly can’t wait to get home and everybody else is okay. Hopefully whoever was affected by this, their families are okay too,” said a nearby resident, Megan Sandoval.
The fire burned a total of 175 acres. No residents were injured and the investigation is ongoing.