GRAND FORKS — It was a scheduled day off for Ross Brossart, one that many would say he deserved.
"I would rather not live that day over if I don't have to," he said from the couch of his home.
Brossart was the mailman who helped evacuate several elderly people from a fast moving fire Tuesday, April 6, at the Cherry Arms Condo complex in Grand Forks.
"Those people would not have had a chance, especially the ones near the unit where it started," Brossart said. "I really don't want to think about what could have happened."
At around noon Brossart's mail drop was normal. That all changed when he got to an apartment complex down the street.
"I looked up and I could see smoke and there were flames coming out of the window," he explained.
He drove back to the complex. A man in a pickup also arrived to help. They decided that man would call 911 since Brossart knew the security code to get into the building.
"I told him I had to get up there because there's quite a few elderly people in there, and I want to make sure they can get out," recalled Brossart.
His first concern? 87-year-old Clayton Lamaack.
"He has to use a walker to get out. From where I could see the flames were coming from the unit right above him," said Brossart.
After walking him out, he then pounded on about eight other doors to get the other residents out.
"To my surprise none of them knew what was going on," said Brossart.
He recalled hearing a faint alarm going off, and moments after everyone got out, that the flames ripped through the entire building.
That's why people are calling him a hero, but he doesn't agree with that label.
"I don't think so, I think the real hero are the guys who show up in the big red trucks, they are the real heroes, they do it everyday," he said.
When firefighters got there, Brossart said he just quietly went back to his route.
"It took two hours to calm down after, the adrenaline was going," he said.
He said this fire should not be about him, but the residents, many who lost almost everything.
"You get to know these people in one way or the other. They are a part of my daily life," Brossart said.