MINOT, N.D. - Minot Rural and City Fire crews spent much of Friday battling a fire at a small auto repair shop on Railway Avenue, just north of the fairgrounds, but they weren't the first ones trying to tackle the blaze.
“We noticed there was smoke coming off the back side of the building. Came over with the fire extinguisher. We noticed there were flames in between the second and first floor. Went in there to try and put it out. We couldn't put it out. At that point we were just trying to make sure there was nobody in the building,” said Sammy Castillo Jr.
Castillo owns the building next door, and sprung into action.
“We knew the owner had a few pets and we wanted to make sure all the animals had gotten out, and tried to save what we could out of the building before it went up in flames,” said Castillo.
When crews arrived at the scene shortly after 9:30 a.m., they started fighting the fire inside the building. But once they realized it was too congested in there, they decided to move the fight outside for safety reasons.
“The fire was advanced enough where we had to pull the guys out and make it a defensive attack,” said Minot Rural Lt. Kelly Haugan.
Castillo said he sympathizes with what his neighbor is going through.
“It’s heartbreaking. Stan is the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back in the winter time,” said Castillo.
Crews eventually put out the flames and are investigating the cause.