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Sebastion--Firefighters Raise Money for Man Displaced by fire

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  • Sebastion--Firefighters Raise Money for Man Displaced by fire

    Firefighters raise money for man who lost home
    The benefit barbecue raised about $6,500 for the Sebastian resident, who also lost his cat in the blaze.

    By Marc Dadigan staff writer
    October 13, 2003

    SEBASTIAN — Bob Fullerton knew that he might be at a loss for words, so he came prepared.

    Choking back tears at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10210 in Sebastian, the 79-year-old unfurled a five-foot sign that read "Thanks" as he spoke to friends and firefighters who gathered Sunday to raise money for Fullerton after a fire left him homeless last month.

    "There was a ballplayer I used to admire by the name of Lou Gehrig," Fullerton said, recalling Gehrig's famous speech at Yankee Stadium. "How lucky I am. Thank you."

    The couple of hundred attendees also honored three firefighters Lt. Ron Angelone, Engineer Robert Cox and Firefighter Steven Graul, who "went beyond the call of duty" by retrieving Fullerton's wallet from the debris and burying the remains of his cat, said Fullerton's neighbor, Andrea Coy.

    "It was time for them to switch shifts, to go home, but just as the fire truck was leaving they decided to look for that wallet," she said.

    After repeatedly searching through the ashes of Fullerton's old mobile home at 330 King St. in the Orange Heights neighborhood, Cox said they decided to look for the wallet one last time because Fullerton seemed determined to find it.

    "He kept asking about it, and we were worried he was going to go through the house once we left," Cox said. "When he found it, he was just jumping around and excited. It had all his identification and everything that would make it a little easier to get started again."

    The wallet also contained a singed $160 in cash that Fullerton was able to exchange for undamaged currency at a bank, Coy said.

    The benefit barbecue raised about $6,500 for the Sebastian resident, who also lost his Mercury Marquis in the blaze. Insurance helped him buy another car, but he had no insurance for the mobile home. He has been staying with friends since the fire.

    Fullerton said he awoke about 3 a.m. Sept. 19 after the smoke alarm sounded. He walked into the living room to find his armchair on fire and managed to crawl out of the home on his hands and knees "in my birthday suit," he said.

    Neighbors were quick to help, providing Fullerton with a shirt, shorts and neon green flip-flops for a temporary wardrobe, Coy said. Firefighters said the fire was caused by a discarded cigarette.

    "The way how everyone has been so helpful has just been overwhelming," Fullerton said.

    The firefighters also were awarded certificates of commendation for their efforts and received hearty applause from the crowd.

    "It's really great to be recognized for something that we actually just see as being part of our job," Cox said.

    - [email protected]
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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