State warns Dog Head Fire victims to be cautious of crooked contractors

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – At least a dozen residents lost their homes in the Dog Head Fire and close to 50 more structures burned. As those affected begin to pick up the pieces, state officials warn them to be wary of who they hire to help.

For more than a week, the Dog Head Fire tore through thousands of acres in the Manzanos, scarring lands and devastating property.

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While locals mourn, state leaders say others may be poised to pounce on their vulnerability.

“People are returning home, finding a lot of damage to their homes from smoke, from fire,” said Ben Cloutier.

Cloutier is a spokesperson for New Mexico’s Regulation and Licensing Department. He says natural disasters, like the Dog Head Fire, creates the perfect climate for dishonest contractors to capitalize on a community.

“We’ll often see these individuals come in from out of state. They chase storms around the country. They might not be licensed in this state,” explained Cloutier.

That means they may not know New Mexico’s code standards and “that could cause safety issues,” said Cloutier.

What’s more, unpermitted work or unlicensed or unqualified contractors could cost you.

It’s why Cloutier urges Dog Head Fire victims, or anyone else looking to hire a contractor, to think twice before trusting a stranger.

“Make sure they’re not trying to rush you through the process,” Cloutier said. “They say they want to fix the problem, make sure they’re licensed first.”

To see if the contractor you’re looking to hire is licensed in New Mexico, you can check here.

You can also call one of New Mexico’s Construction Industries Division (CID) offices, depending on your area. CID is part of the Regulation and Licensing Department.

  • Santa Fe Office: (505) 476-4869
  • Albuquerque Office: (505) 222-9801
  • Las Cruces: 575-524-6320

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