Fire Takes SDFD Chaplain's Home, Not His Spirit

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A San Diego Fire-Rescue Department chaplain who lost his home in a fire is feeling well enough to share personal holiday season tragedy with the hopes it inspires others to be grateful

The fire ripped through Father David Fucci's Old Town apartment last Thursday. His abode is a total loss, but he’s been able to return a few times since the fire to salvage what he can.

The fire department chaplain is not a man of great means but what he did have had great meaning to him.

His charred sofa remains in front of the boarded-up studio apartment complex. It was also Father Fucci's bed for the last six years.

Among his prized possessions consumed by the fire were native American pottery and a Navajo sand painting.

The fire chaplain was out with a friend at the time of the fire. He saw the engines and chief's vehicle pass by him. Ninety seconds later, he got a call from his neighbor.

"My first reaction is please don't let it spread,” Father Fucci said.

Not only is Father Fucci the second-most tenured chaplain in the SDFD, he is chaplain at Vitas Hospice. His career and life is devoted to the care of others, but when he needed it, the clergy and firefighter communities showed up.

"Just having the firefighters coming out and putting their hand on my shoulder and saying, ‘I'm sorry,’ that human touch,” Fucci explained.

Recovery is in sight, but getting back to normal will take time. His message though is the same inspiration he has used to help so many others.

"To me, that is the greatest gift of all that people are just giving of themselves,” Fucci said.

Fucci had little to no time to deal with his own personal crisis because he was called to hospice the same night of the fire to minister a family there.

Before Fucci became a fire department chaplain, he was a U.S. Air Force firefighter and a medic with the U.S. Army Special Forces. He joined the ministry 27 years ago.

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