Mountainair’s town clerk Dennis Fulfer said a project to clear the burn scar left when a fire burned through half a block just before Christmas in 2016.
That fire destroyed three businesses, which included the Mountainair Emporium, Uncle Walter’s and a barber shop; it left behind a large scar and the remnants of a building.
Mountainair contracted a company called Earthtech, from Albuquerque, to come in and clear out what is left. As of Tuesday, contractors estimate the project will be completed within the next two weeks, Fulfer said.
The burn site totals four lots which will be cleared all the way down to the slabs to make way for new businesses. The decision as to what to do with the space will be made by the new mayor and the council after the election in March 2018, as the current mayor will not be running again. “Ideally, we would like to see a new building get built and we want to rent it to a business,” Fulfer explained. “We see it as an opportunity for revenue.”
The previous owners of the businesses turned them over to Mountainair for clean-up. The town was not given a specific deadline for cleanup but they were asked to get it done as soon as possible.
The Independent’s initial reporting on this story in 2016 there was suspicion of arson. According to Fulfer that was never confirmed and the cause of the fire is still unknown.