‘Twenty years of work gone’: Owner of Lytle business speaks about fire that left everything in ruins

SAN ANTONIO — A long-time Lytle business was gutted by a massive fire. The owner, Willy Babi, is still picking up the debris. His auto repair shop where he also did state inspections has been on Main street in the small town for 20 years.

The fire destroyed everything in its path.

“It’s terrible to see,” he said. “Twenty years of work gone in a few hours.” Everything got burned. It is real hard.”

It was nearly a week ago, that his shop was covered in flames. He got the call from a neighbor. 

“Honestly, I am not sure how I am going to handle all of this,” the owner said. “But, thanks to God we are still alive.” It was dangerous. So dangerous. And they tried to make the fire not suffer around the place.”

He said fire crews were able to contain the fire to just his building. He says neighboring buildings were not touched.

“It is like your baby is gone,” he said. “And this time you feel like everything is blank. Every bad stuff comes to your mind, like what are you going to do. What is going to happen. How are you going to pay your bills, and how are you going to support your family.” 

The business was not insured.  Babi said his recent policy wasn’t renewed, because the company he had no longer insured commercial buildings. He was in the process of trying to find another company.

“So, I have to do everything by myself,” he said.

The owner is now cleaning up the mess. Meantime, the small town started a fundraising page to help him. 

“Because without support I can’t really make it,” Babi said.

As for the cause, he said he was told wind may have hit an electrical pole that could have ignited the fire. For now, he is just taking it day-by-day.

“I hope I can make it,” he said.

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