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San Diego Fire-Rescue chaplain consoled while watching apartment burn

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Posted at 4:32 PM, Dec 12, 2019

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A San Diego Fire-Rescue chaplain found himself in need after flames ripped through his apartment in Old Town.

Father David Fucci was with a friend last Thursday night when he got a call.

"My neighbor calls and says, 'Your apartment is on fire'," said Father Fucci.

As he raced home, a mix of feelings washed over him. For about seven years, he's served as a volunteer chaplain, consoling victims during tragedy.

"That night, it felt surreal. Almost like an out-of-body experience. Normally I'm the one driving to the scene, thinking about what I can say," said Father Fucci.

Instead, he could only watch as flames claimed his home.

"Just kept thinking, don't let it spread to any other apartments and thankfully, it didn't," said Father Fucci.

Then, something remarkable happened. As word spread of whose apartment it was, some familiar faces began appearing, including five other volunteer chaplains and a battalion chief.

"They took the time to put a hand on my shoulders. I knew I was blessed," said Father Fucci.

Father Fucci found himself the person receiving comfort.

"Sometimes those that give, it's hard to receive ... the compassion, love and help. You learn to let go," said Father Fucci.

In the end, the apartment was declared a total loss. Amid the ashes, Father Fucci found something that survived.

"I found a picture of Mom and Dad. Last picture of them. They died a year later," said Father Fucci.

He also discovered something else. He calls it a blessing born from his loss: a perspective that will allow him to better help others at the next scene.

"Now you have a greater understanding of what they need," said Father Fucci.

Father Fucci did not have renters insurance. He tells us the cause is accidental, but the exact cause hasn't been determined.

A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help him with expenses.