During the work, a stray spark lit some nearby gasoline. The resulting fire then caught Heinrichs’ clothes, setting him alight. Heinrichs immediately dashed outside to douse the flames on the snowy ground, slamming the door behind him to try to prevent the fire from spreading further.
However, as the building burned, Heinrichs suddenly realized that his best friend Buddy wasn’t at his side. Heinrichs recounted the events in an interview with the TV series Extraordinary Dogs. “I got the fire off me, then I realized my dog was still inside,” he told the program.
Heinrichs subsequently went back to retrieve his faithful friend. Then, when owner and dog were both safe, something remarkable happened. “That’s when I said we need to find help, and then [Buddy] took off,” Heinrichs recalled. By that time, though, the neighbors had already caught wind of the blaze.