DADE CITY (FOX 13) - When Hans Geissler realized the extent of damage caused by a fire at his fishery, Morningstar Fishermen, one thing went through his mind: “Oh God, why me, why me?”
The 77-year-old caretaker was enjoying his Friday night when lightning struck, causing the massive fire.
Geissler ran toward the scene.
"The next thing I saw was the flames. I mean, from way down there, I saw the flames up here, so I ran up here, out of breath and without shoes,” he said.
The flames took over two of the buildings and everything inside.
"All of the lawn mowers, all of the generators, everything in the building is gone,” he said.
Also gone were more than a decade of records. Geissler estimates the damage could be as high as $50,000.
In spite of the massive loss, he’s not down.
"We are on the winning side,” he said. “Why? Because we want people to help themselves."
It’s the mission of Morningstar Fishermen. The organization aims to teach others how to create sustainable food sources through aquaponics.
What did survive the fire was evidence of the organization's help around the world.
"We left a pretty heavy footprint in giving, and that's what it’s all about, you know?" he said.
Though the fire has taken much from the organization, it will continue to give.
“Even though it's gone, we're going to replace, and keep on working,” he said. “So we're OK.”