A fire over Memorial Day weekend burned down 40% of the old Holiday Inn


A fire destroyed the old Holiday Inn located at 1401 White Sands Boulevard on May 29.

The business had not been in operation for about a decade, and the structure was on the list of dilapidated buildings in the city of Alamogordo.

“It was a big fire,” William Skaggs, chief of the Alamogordo Fire Department’s fire investigation unit, said May 31. “(The Alamogordo Fire Department) knows this building very well. It was on our radar. We paid attention to it.”

The building received multiple administrative search warrants, Skaggs said.

“The last time we were there was January 5 of this year,” Skaggs said. “We served the administrative search warrant to examine the condition of the building. It is on the city’s radar. Code Enforcement, the Alamogordo Fire Department and the City Attorney’s Office have been working to pursue actions against the building.”

The process for a structure to be deemed a nuisance and order its demolition takes time, including a statement from the Alamogordo Municipal Commission declaring that a property is “so ruined, damaged and dilapidated that it poses a threat for the public comfort, health, peace or safety and ordering its curtailment.”

On April 26, the Alamogordo City Commission named dilapidated properties on Railroad Road, the last time it addressed the discussion.

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The fire destroyed about 40,000 square feet of the building and was determined to be incendiary in nature, Skaggs said.

“Incendiary means there was a fire where there shouldn’t have been a fire,” Skaggs said. “It does not include the actual cause or intent of the fire.”

A fire destroyed approximately 40% of the former Holiday Inn on White Sands Boulevard behind Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar.

The fire investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by the New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Alamogordo Fire was dispatched around 11:46 a.m. on May 29. Otero County Emergency Services was called to provide assistance.

“It was a defensive shot,” Skaggs said. “We already knew that there was no way to launch an offensive attack on it. The teams, knowing the building, we chose two places, two firewalls, and that’s where we defended ourselves and we kept the fire going in that area.”

After:Fire and fireworks restrictions activated due to drought and fire danger

Several nearby restaurants were evacuated due to the fire, those restaurants had to close for the evening, said a press release from the Alamogordo Fire Department.

The only reported injury was an Otero County firefighter who was treated at the scene for minor heat-related injuries, the news release said.

Firefighting continued through the night of May 29 until the morning of May 30.

If the public has any information relating to this fire, including first-hand witness statements, photos or video prior to the arrival of emergency responders, please contact the Alamogordo Police Department at 575-439-4325 or the Alamogordo Fire Department Fire Investigation Unit. at 575-439-4298.

Nicole Maxwell can be reached by email at [email protected], by phone at 575-415-6605 or on Twitter at @nicmaxreporter. If you have questions about your subscription, please contact customer service at [email protected] or call 1-877-301-0013.

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