another historic Albuquerque building is gone

Several weeks ago we smelled smoke after 10:00 at night.  We threw on
some clothes and went outside to make sure it wasn’t our place or any
of our neighbors’ houses or our business.

As we walked down
Central Avenue with our neighbor, the sight was incredible.  Central
was closed off, and fire trucks and ambulances were all around the
intersection of 15th Street trying to put out the fire in an apartment
building.  Smoke was billowing, ash was blowing, and flames were coming
out the windows.  The fire trucks were using huge hoses and water
cannons to get water into the building.  Fortunately for us, the wind
shifted around and blew the smoke in another direction for the rest of
the night and next day, but our townhouse smelled like smoke for a

It was the historic Castle Apartments building that
burned, a lovely building with 20 apartments, surrounded by huge shady
trees.  We used to live one street over and passed by it all the time.
It was the kind of place I thought I’d like to live in.

The next
day we went over and talked to a neighbor up the street as we watched
the water cannons continue to pour water on it and a waterfall streamed
out the front door.  He said it was the kind of place that never had a
vacancy–as soon as someone gave notice, they had someone waiting to
move in.

Now it’s just an empty shell.  I wonder if they’ll be
able to save any of the walls, all that’s left.  It’s bad enough to
lose a great historic building to “urban renewal” or neglect, but to
lose a well-kept landmark to a horrific fire that leaves 20 families
without homes and destroys everything they own is just sad.