Fire Damages New Mexico Library

July 5, 2013
Bernalillo County firefighters held the fire to the children's section of the North Valley Library.

July 04--A character on the charred cover of a pre-school book seemed to be holding his nose to the pungent smell of smoke hanging over burned books Wednesday outside the North Valley Library.

The book was part of a pile of debris made up of other books, magazines and library shelving that firemen pulled out the back doors of the library at 7704 Second NW.

Bernalillo County firefighters quickly put out the fire that broke out at about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday in the children's section of the library, said county fire spokesman Larry Gallegos.

"The library will be closed until further notice, as damage is assessed and repairs are made," library marketing manager Tierna Unruh-Enos said in a news release.

The county fire marshal's office is investigating the cause of the fire, which occurred while the library was closed. Asked whether it will look into the possibility of arson, or a break-in, Gallegos referred to the investigation.

"We got the fire out pretty quickly, but not before there was extensive damage to the children's section," Gallegos said.

Looking inside the windows and back doors of the closed library showed that the fire appeared to be contained within a relatively small area, with up to three shelves and the books they held burned, along with carpets and several plants. No burned computers were visible.

The front of the library showed no evidence of a fire, except for a sign that read, "The North Valley Library is closed due to fire damage."

There was smoke and water damage to other parts of the library, as well, Gallegos said.

Some patrons arriving to discover news of the fire expressed disappointment, including Amalia Lopez, who said, "I think its pretty bad when somebody would break in and set a fire in a library, if that's what happened."

"Who would do that? Set a fire to something used by so many people?" patron Steven Ashcraft asked.

The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Library system encouraged patrons with library needs to visit any one of its 16 other branches or go online to www.abclibrary. org.

Copyright 2013 - Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

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