ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Cuba Fire Chief James Sanchez was responding to a house fire on Thursday when he realized it was his house on fire.
Firefighters came from Aztec 60 miles away to fight the fire, but the home is a total loss.
Sanchez is retired from the military, heads the volunteer fire department, volunteers for the police department and on Thursday lost everything he owned.
"Some of the firefighters beat me there and said, "Chief, just prepare yourself. There's nothing here,'" says Sanchez.
When the call came in that there was a fire in Lybrook, Sanchez jumped into action and said my house is there. As he started to drive towards the fire, he realized that it was going to be his house on fire.
He lost everything that he owned from the last 49 years. What he wore to work that day was all that he had left.
The only thing firefighters could salvage is the American flag. He recently retired after spending 27 years in the military as a para-rescueman, but now there is one other problem.
"What makes it worse is my fire insurance was canceled four months ago due to the fact that the fire station closed down," says Sanchez.
The department is all volunteer, and there was a lack of staffing and funding, so one station was closed. That decision forced a lot of ranchers to lose their fire insurance.
Sanchez says they couldn't find anybody to give them insurance before this disaster struck. Now he is left to pick up the pieces.
"Nothing I lost is irreplacable," says Sanchez. "What I do have is friends and family support from both, a loving wife, loving children and God will take care of the rest."
Sanchez says this doesn't change anything. He wants to keep being fire chief and volunteer for the police department.
He is going to take a couple of days off and then figure out what he can do next. The rest of his family was on vacation at the time of the fire.
Three Albuquerque veterans remember vividly the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the U.S. into World War II 72 years ago Saturday.
After getting out of federal prison early this week it looks like former state Sen. Manny Aragón isn't at a halfway house after all. He's back at his own house in the South Valley.
The owner and an employee of a local smoke shop are in federal custody accused of selling spice at the Rio Rancho store.
The New Mexico State Police officer who fired his weapon at van filled with kids during a traffic stop gone bad has been fired.
The civil case filed against former cop Levi Chavez in the gunshot death of his wife is coming to an end without a trial.
Could there be a serial dog snatcher in Roswell?