Chamberino veteran loses home in fire, questions response time

Chamberino veteran loses home, questions response time

CHAMBERINO, New Mexico - Investigators determined Wednesday the cause of a mobile home fire in the 300 block of San Luis Avenue that left a Chamberino man and his daughter homeless but now the two are wondering what took firefighters so long to respond to the blaze.

Dona Ana County Fire and Emergency Services department says the fire happened just before 3:30 Jan. 14. Crews from Anthony, La Mesa, La Union and Mesquite were called to the scene by a neighboring relative. When firefighters arrived the single-wide mobile home was engulfed in heavy smoke with flames coming from the bedroom. The fire was contained within 35 minutes but was determined to be a total loss.

Ernesto Dominguez lived in the mobile home for 18 years. Tuesday he not only lost his home but everything inside.

"I was mad, you know, angry. 'Cuz what do we have them there for," Dominguez questioned as he pointed to the Chamberino volunteer fire station nearby.

"We would like to have paid firefighters here, too," Christina Coronado, Dominguez's niece, said. She witnessed the fire and can't believe how long it took for the first fire truck to arrive.

Dona Ana County Fire Marshal Robert Monsivaiz said it took crews about 15 minutes to get on scene, though to Dominguez's family it seemed much longer.

"We know the value of life and the value of people's property and so we continue to strive as much as we can to make sure our resources are adequate," Monsivaiz said. An investigation revealed that a space heater in the bedroom is what caused the fire.

The volunteer fire station near the lost mobile home isn't staffed 24/7 and that was the case during the fire that destroyed Dominguez's home.

"I spent a lot of money on this and it's all gone," Dominguez said. Now the Vietnam War veteran and his teenage daughter are hoping to rebuild.

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