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Crews continue to stamp out Rio Rancho fire

Neighbors watch firefighters battle a massive blaze at a vacant country club in Rio Rancho on Saturday night. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Firefighters continued to snuff out hot spots Saturday after a massive fire ravaged a vacant country club in Rio Rancho the night before.

Richard Doty, Rio Rancho Fire Rescue deputy chief, said crews worked through the night and extinguished the main blaze at the vacant Club Rio Rancho, formerly known as Chamisa Hills Country Club, by 3 p.m.

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire at the site north of Golf Course and Southern is still unknown.

“We have the fire out right now, we’re working on a few hot spots,” Doty said late Saturday afternoon.

Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull, in an interview with KOAT-TV, called the country club “one of the cornerstones” of the community when Rio Rancho was developed.

“This facility holds a lot of memories of people’s events, weddings, birthdays,” Hull said. “I even celebrated my 50th birthday party here.”

Doty said the fire ignited in the ballroom around 8 p.m., where it did the most damage, before spreading to the restaurant and clubhouse once the roof caved in.

Crews were unable to enter the unstable structure, which is around 27,000 square feet and has multiple levels, so they had to fight the fire solely from the outside. Doty said that slowed down the firefighters and left many “hidden pockets” of fire.

Doty said once the hot spots are extinguished, investigators will be able to go inside and try to determine what caused the blaze.

Josh Skarsgard, owner of Land Development 2 LLC, which has a large stake in the property, said he is saddened to learn of the fire at the clubhouse located off of Country Club Road.

“We are hopeful and prayerful that nobody was injured in the blaze,” Skarsgard said. “We are very appreciative of the bravery and skill demonstrated by the Rio Rancho Fire Department in putting out the blaze. While we don’t know how this fire started we remain committed to rehabilitating this property in the future.”

Stephen Montoya of the Rio Rancho Observer contributed to this report.



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