By Eric Butler: PNT Staff Writer
An abandoned building on East Brazos in Portales caught fire late Tuesday night.
Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said Wednesday afternoon the damage was so extensive investigators weren’t cleared to walk through the structure and could not determine the cause of the fire.
“When the guys got out there, it was fully engulfed. We asked the lady who lived closest to it to move away until it was safe,” Berry said. “By the time it was called into us, there were visible flames. It was just an old wood structure and it burned like crazy.”
The closest neighbor was Corene Cooper, 91, who said the building had been used by Baptist and Pentecostal churches through the years.
“It’s been vacant for years. As far as I know, it was only (used for) storage,” Cooper said.
Cooper said she left her home about 11 p.m. Tuesday when firefighters arrived at her door.
Her home was not damaged.