Portales firefighters recount fighting blaze

Portales Firefighters Floyd Hancock and Dathan Culpepper arrived Sunday afternoon at the Mitchell dairy on Highway 467 to be greeted by flames.

“We pulled up there and the flames were too big for the little truck we were in,” Hancock said. “It was a lot more difficult because of terrain and wind.”

He said he and Culpepper tried to reach a man in a dairy loader truck but flames quickly sprung up between them, so they began to fight the fire from where they were rather than getting in front of it.

“It was moving so fast and the flames were so high, we couldn’t get around,” he said.

He said their truck became stuck in the sand at one point and had to be removed by a dairy loader. He said several other units also got stuck in sand Sunday night.

Firefighter Mike Inge said his first challenge with the fire was fighting a structure fire involving a trailer home on Highway 467 with Battalion Chief Mike Golden.

He said two trailer homes were put together and one of the trailers was on fire upon his arrival.

“That one trailer was pretty much a goner,” Inge said. “So instead of trying to save it, we just tried to keep the fire from spreading.”

He said nobody was at the residence during the fire, but wasn’t sure if it was currently in use by a tenant or owner.

He said they had almost zero visibility at the site but managed to save the other trailer from damage.

“You’re just pretty much out there on your own,” Inge said. “And that’s how it is for everybody.”

— Compiled by Freedom New Mexico staff writer Alisa Boswell