Fire destroys family business in Fonda

July 19, 2017 12:31 AM

FONDA - A family business went up in flames after a fire tore through an auto repair shop in Fonda Tuesday afternoon.  

“I heard them screaming call 911, call 911, so I ran over,” said Trevor Gilligan.

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The 24-year-old said he was working outside of Mancini Motors shortly after 3pm when the facility and two apartments upstairs went up in flames. 

The fire sent thick clouds of black and grey smoke billowing into the air.

Town of Mohawk Fire officials say two people in the shop and an elderly couple in an upstairs apartment made it out safely.

86-year-old Al Mancini, who lives upstairs with his 82-year-old wife Joyce, has Trevor Gilligan to thank for saving his life. 

"So they were running down the stairs and the hallway just filled up with smoke,” Gilligan said. “I just took Al by his hand and kept yelling at him to follow me out the front door. We got him out safe."

"Somebody said go get Al, get him out because he couldn't walk good,” said Mancini’s sister, Constance Hoyer. “That kid as good a friend as he is went up and got my brother out."

Gilligan works with the elderly couple's son, Tom, who owns the car repair shop at 5 Midway Alley as well as Mancini Oil next door.

Town of Mowhark Fire Chief Stanley Mitchell said a gasoline leak from a car that was being repaired in the shop sparked the fire. 

He said it also had some oil tanks inside.

"The heat got to a point where anything that was combustible would catch on fire and with it being a garage there's lots of gasoline, oil, grease," Mitchell said.

Demolition crews began tearing down the charred remains of the building shortly after the fire was put out.

Louise Boyer is friends with the elderly couple who lived in the apartment. 

She is sorry the family's business is gone but she said she’s also glad everyone is ok. 

"Oh my God it was terrible,” Boyer said. “I was just happy that nobody was in it you know."

The family of the fire victims is calling Gilligan a hero for saving the elderly man’s life.

Gilligan said he does not feel like one. 

"I feel like I just did what did what anybody else would've done."

Mitchell said the elderly couple's grandson also lived in an upstairs apartment and all three are homeless.

Mitchell believes one mechanic may have received minor injuries during the fire.


WNYT Staff

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