HALFMOON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Jeff Pauly and his 12-year old son Drew are huge Yankees fans. Since he was around the same age as his son, Jeff has collected baseball memorabilia including rare cards and autographed balls from some of his favorite players.
“Derek Jeter autograph there. A Derek Jeter autograph for the Inaugural Season when they built the stadium. Jeter autograph from the ‘96 World Series,” Jeff describes to NEWS10’s Conall Smith as he shows pictures of his collection.
But, while at a Fourth of July barbecue, Jeff got a message he was not expecting. “I shut the door with my son and I. I didn’t know that that would be the last time I saw my stuff and everything. I was at a barbecue and received a text message asking if that was my place and drove right up there and…done.”
Jeff’s apartment, along with several of his neighbors’ was destroyed by a fire at the Mohawk Terrace apartment complex in Halfmoon. 20 residents were displaced. Nearly everything he and his son owned, including personal documents and his prized collection, were consumed by the fire.
“I’ve built this up for my son so I can pass it down to him and…nothing. Our LEGOS we built LEGOS together and the memories as well as the sentimental things that I can never get back is extremely tough,” Jeff says while fighting back tears.
Pictures of his father, who has since passed, were also lost. All he has now is a tattoo of him on his shoulder. Jeff says he lived for three and a half years at the Mohawk Terrace apartments, but does not plan on returning; saying the memories will be too hard to bear.
According to the Saratoga County Fire Coordinator’s Office, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.