The City of Las Cruces Fire and Police Departments are investigating a series of fires that began just after midnight this morning, Monday May 2. Crews from both Las Cruces Fire Department (LCFD) and Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) responded to several dumpster fires in the downtown area along Main Street. Firefighters were initially called to a dumpster fire near Peter Piper Pizza, but encountered another one on the way. Firefighters extinguished the fires and in some cases returned to find them reignited. Crews were dispatched eleven times between 1 a.m. and 12:57 p.m. to extinguish dumpster or brush fires.
The fires were located at different downtown locations including Main Street, Water Street, Delano Drive, and Mesquite Street. The LCFD Prevention Bureau has started an investigation and both LCPD and LCFD are asking the community for assistance in identifying the person or people responsible. They also ask the public to be aware of suspicious activity from individuals in the area between Alameda Boulevard and Mesquite Street and between Spruce Avenue and Amador Avenue.
Fire crews used about 400 gallons of water and foam on each dumpster and when they returned added an additional 250 gallons per reignited dumpster. Investigators determined the fires did not reignite without assistance. In order to reduce the opportunity for the fires to be reignited, LCFD called Las Cruces Utilities to assist loading the dumpster contents into empty trash trucks and hauled the trash to another location to spread out the contents and enabled to crews to fully ensure it was extinguished.
LCFD recommends businesses and residents consider using video surveillance where possible, and strongly consider sharing footage with authorities to assist with investigations of fire crimes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Central Dispatch at (575) 526-0795.