By: Shaya Rogers, Staff Reporter | Photo By: Scott M. Roberts, Photojournalist
A homeowner living three blocks east of the CNM main campus is left without a home after his home went up in flames.
Bruce Pataky said he was making tea on Nov. 29 around 2:30 p.m. when he noticed a small flame that quickly grew into a large blaze.
“I walked away from making tea and something caught on fire and it just took off,” he said.
In the time it took him to run to the bathroom and turn on the water, the small kitchen fire had grown into a huge blaze, he said.
“At first I thought I could put it out; It was within two minutes that the entire place was engulfed. I ran to the bathroom to get water. I turned around and the whole ceiling was gone,” he said.
This is the second time his home has burned in three years, he said. He has been living in northern New Mexico, making trips to Albuquerque and slowly getting his house ready to start the rebuilding process, he said.
“I had just gone to the city today and was getting the papers to start rebuilding,” he said.
He received approval from the city to start rebuilding the day of the fire, he said.
“I was getting demo permits and getting the building permits to actually turn it around today, this very day. I went back here today saying, ‘Great.’ Then I turn on my tea, come back and it’s gone,” he said.
Even though the house was empty of most possessions, Pataky lost many things in the fire that he brought while he was working on it, he said.
His ID, car keys, a computer, tablets and a 1957 Martin guitar were all lost in the fire, but getting his documentation back is his biggest concern, he said.
“It’s going to be a big hassle, getting my ID back. I’m going to have to jump through hoops that nobody should have to jump through. I can get a new phone, a new computer, even my ‘57 Martin guitar. That little beauty is gone, but even that I can replace to some extent. It’s just going to be the personal hassles,” he said.
He came to Albuquerque to study and ended up making a life here, complete with a home on half an acre, surrounded by trees and birds, he said.
“I came out of academia; I came out here to do geology at the graduate level. Then I fell into just Albuquerque, so I got this place, I wanted a big place where I could have my own park,” he said.
He was surprisingly optimistic about the situation and said there is really no point in being negative about it, but he said he does wish he had his phone and his wallet.
“It’s better than being down. I would be better if I had my ID and phone, but sometimes we have break away from these things,” he said.
Pataky said he can stay with some friends in town for the time being until he can head back up to his home in northern New Mexico.
While he is grateful that he was not injured, he is stressed out and not looking forward to trying to get back all that he has lost, he said.
“If I just had a little more presence of mind I’d have my phone and my wallet and would be counting myself lucky right now,” he said.