'Likely a total loss:' Popular Downtown laundromat burns down

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Feb. 18—A Downtown Albuquerque laundromat that appeared in episodes of "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul" burnt down early Sunday morning.

At about 5 a.m. firefighters responded to a call of a fire with heavy smoke at Wash Tub Laundromat on the 1100 block of Central, near 11th and Kent.

No one was injured and the cause is still being determined, according to Albuquerque Fire and Rescue.

"It's not just my business, it's a community laundromat," owner Hunter Greene said. "It was a laundromat prior to that. Years ago, it was as a furniture store."

Glbreath Furniture was at that location in 1960, according to a Journal advertisement from its electronic microfilm.

According to the Bernalillo County Assessor's Office website, the property was built in 1948.

Some of that history may be gone now.

Fire Rescue said the building is "likely a total loss."

Greene said he is unsure what the costs of the damages are, especially to the washer and dryers.

"It's hard to tell what kind of shape they're in," he said. "We really won't know until we take each machine out and assess them."

The fire was disheartening to people who drove or walked down Kent and Central trying to figure out what happened.

"That was the best laundromat ever," said Sue Brahimaj who lives nearby Wash Tub.

According to Albuquerque Fire Rescue, 18 units responded with three aerial ladders.

"I woke up 7:40 and came outside to have a cigarette and a coffee and I saw a huge puddle of water," Brahimaj said. "And we're in New Mexico, there shouldn't be just like a huge puddle of water.

"So, I'm like crap, something is on fire."

After three hours, the fire was put under control, but damage to the building and its contents are "likely a total loss."

Investigators are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire, according to Fire Rescue. Greene said homeless people camp out by the laundromat.

Greene, who owns three other Wash Tubs in the city, had operated the Downtown location since 2003.

"I would like to rebuild," he said, adding that he needs to deal with insurance before moving forward with any plans.

"But we're just hoping to have, again, this resource to the community that's been here for so many years," he said.