Officials investigating cause of fire

An investigator was on scene Saturday looking for clues to what caused a warehouse fire that gutted a warehouse and the Dollar General Store, according to Portales Fire Department Lt. Shannon Lee.

Firefighters were called shortly before 11 a.m. Friday, after an employee at Trader Horn’s True Value Hardware store spotted smoke coming from the warehouse beside Dollar General.

“We had an investigator in there and they didn’t give a determination on it,” Lee said. “We’re supposed to meet sometime week with some insurance companies, and then we’ll go from there.”

Firefighters evacuated several nearby homes, fearing 40 mph winds from a winter storm could fan the blaze out of control, but managed to contain the damage to the two buildings. Both were a total loss, according to police.

Lee said investigators are still trying to determine a dollar estimate of damage from the fire.