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Albuquerque Fire Responded to Double Normal Number of Fires in December and January

Mayor, Fire Chief marked end of grueling two-month stretch, thanked firefighters for their service today.

Feb. 19, 2021

Mayor Tim Keller and Fire Chief Dow held a briefing today to mark the end of a particularly grueling two-month stretch for Albuquerque Fire Rescue (AFR) and thank firefighters for their service to the City. During December and January, AFR responded to an average of more than three significant structure fires every day—about double their normal number. In total, AFR went to 209 significant fires and 14,423 calls—including calls for medical rescue and other issues. 

“Firefighters save lives in our city every day, and it can be easy to take for granted. But especially over these last couple of months, we’ve seen AFR step up and handle a huge jump in the number of calls—during a pandemic—without missing a beat. I’m grateful for their service to Albuquerque,” said Mayor Tim Keller. 

Fire Chief Paul Dow said, “Each structure fire response is unique and has its own dangers: erratic fire behavior and the threat of structural collapse are always a possibility. The US averages 100 Firefighter fatalities each year; please do not take lightly the risk these men and women take to keep our community safe. It is not luck, or by accident, our Firefighters are so proficient – they work at their trade and take great pride and personal responsibility in their performance. I am proud of every one of them.”

AFR firefighters responded to 90,208 calls in 2020, but only a small fraction of those are normally related to significant structure fires. In October of 2020, for example, there were 73 significant fires, and only 55 in November. In December, that number jumped to 106, and in January it was 103. Calls in February so far are on pace to return to a more normal level.

Significant fires included a fire at a commercial strip mall tire shop, a house explosion from a natural gas leak, and an electrical fire at the ABQ Sunport. 

Call Volume for December 

  • Total calls- 7449
  • Ems calls- 6323
  • Fire Calls- 516

Call volume for January

  • Total calls- 7183
  • Ems calls- 6012
  • Fire calls- 558