Deming police needs your help on rash of suspicious fires

·3 min read
An adjoining wooden structure that was an addition to the unoccupied mobile home was completely gutted by fire.
An adjoining wooden structure that was an addition to the unoccupied mobile home was completely gutted by fire.
Tuesday's early-morning fire at the 400 block of S. Ruby Street was the second major fire in the same neighborhood in just over a month.
Tuesday's early-morning fire at the 400 block of S. Ruby Street was the second major fire in the same neighborhood in just over a month.

DEMING – Suspicious fires have put the Deming Fire Department and City of Deming Police Department on alert. And now, the need your help.

“We are doing everything in our power to track down any individual(s) responsible for committing arson," Deming Police Chief Clint Hogan told the Headlight through a press release. "We need your help, though. Please, if you know anything contact DPD or Crime Stoppers."

There has been an increased number of arson cases over the past year, according to city officials. The Deming Police Department (DPD) is reaching out to the public partly based on the fact that southwestern New Mexico is in a severe drought pattern that has led to fire danger alerts across the state.

For one 24-hour time frame in February of this year, Deming and Luna County fire departments responded to four fires within a four-mile radius. Two of the blazes – abandoned Jack Key Ford-Lincoln-Mercury car dealership lot and La Familia Panaderia – were investigated by the state fire marshal and turned over to Deming police.

There have been 46 arson reports filed in the last year with 16 listed as “still active,” and 24 cases that have been closed due to lack of evidence or no suspects at this time.

Since last year, to date DPD has charged four individuals with arson. Also, in this time frame DPD has had 30 No Burning/Illegal Burning reports filed i.e., dumpster fires, brush fire, open fires, etc.

There have been nine arrests made regarding No Burning/Illegal Burning. All cases are subject to being reopened should any leads or suspects arise.

The DPD encourages the public to contact the DPD or Deming-Luna County Crime Stoppers with any information. A $850 reward is available through Crime Stoppers.

According to Deming Fire Department Chief Joe Owen, the total estimated loss in fire in the City of Deming is $1,054,550. DPD records show four case closures with arrests throughout this last year for arson:

• Sarah Chavez, age 44, of Silver City, NM, arrested on 02/03/21

• Fernando Gutierrez, age 40, of Deming, arrested on 03/23/21

• Juanita Hernandez, age 41, of Deming, arrested on 05/28/21

• Enrique Salas, age 66, of Deming, arrested on 03/25/22

(Criminal charges and any discussion thereof, are merely allegations and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty).

If you have any information that can help bring those responsible to justice, call DPD at 575-546-3011 or Deming-Luna County Crime Stoppers at 575-546-7800.

Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-546-2611 (leave a message) or biarmendariz@demingheadlight.com.

The following locations are locations with which an arson report was filed but no arrest was made:

1400 E. Birch St.

• 219 E. Maple St.

• 420 W. Pine St.

• 500 E. Cedar St.

• 917 N. Platinum 1st & Copper St.

• 415 E. 4th St.

• 812 S. Gold Holly & Santa Cruz

• 513 S. Calle Ricardo Lead & Spruce St.

• 1701 S. Santa Barbara St.

• 316 E. 3rd St.

• 401 W. 1st St.

• 306 E. Hemlock St.

• 2505 S. Silver St.

• 219 W. Mulberry St.

• 500 E. Railroad Blvd.

• 413 S. Ruby St.

• Spruce & Diamond St.

• 1st & Tin St. 417 Calle Ricardo

• 1309 W. Pine St.

• Pine & 9th St. Ruby & Cedar St.

• 110 N. 9th St.

• 3314 E. Gila Court

• 321 W. Pine St.

• 1512 W. Pine St.

• 406 E. Poplar St.

• 300 W. 3rd St.

• 1001 E. Birch St.

• 225 S. Whittier St.

• 2100 S. Slate St.

• 2119 S. Platinum St.

• 110 N. 9th St.

• 2505 S. Silver St.

This article originally appeared on Deming Headlight: Deming police needs your help on rash of suspicious fires