ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A 16-year veteran with the Albuquerque Fire Department was honored Friday by the city for his efforts in a massive and dangerous fire that destroyed a dance institute.
In December, Victor Padilla was off duty when he noticed smoke coming from the roof of the Flamenco Institute near Second and Gold.
Knowing people could be inside, he went in the burning building and started getting people out.
City officials say he called for help, set up an action plan and a command center.
In the end, more than 23 units and 50 firefighters battled the intense blaze.
When Padilla realized the roof could collapse, he called on the firefighters to get out of the inferno.
Eventually, the roof did collapse and the city says Padilla’s actions saved the lives of many firefighters.
“Those 50-plus firefighters, they’re equally, if not more deserving of this recognition here today,” said Padilla.
It took firefighters three and a half hours to put out the fire.
The Flamenco Institute was a total loss. The cause is still under investigation.