Editor’s Note: This story comes from Minister Matthew N. in New York, who has very strong inclinations that he might have been a fire fighter in the New York City Fire Department in a past life. Given his proclivity to fire fighting and similarities in his current life, it’s a very strong antidotal case with historical breadcrumbs. We thank Matthew for sharing his story.
I’m an ordained minister so the beliefs are kind of different, but even we can’t ignore some of the things we don’t understand…
I was born Jan. 10 1972, and even from the time I could walk and talk I was fascinated with firefighting and firefighters. My parents, aunts, older siblings, etc. would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up and each time I would say I wanted to be a fireman. Whenever a news story was about a fire, I was right there in front of the television. My mother and father had even gotten me a firetruck birthday cake from Carvel.
As I got older I found myself rushing to fires and delving into anything that had to due with the fire department. Pretty soon I found myself being able to talk to firefighters as if I was a seasoned veteran. I knew hose width and lengths, water pressure and etc. I was drawing pictures of what went on inside the fire buildings back in the early 80’s, which was years before the helmet cam.
Around that same time I also became overly fascinated with New York City (I was born and raised in Waterbury, CT). Even more with the FDNY – as I got into my mid-to-late teens I started going to the library and would hunt down every book I could find on firefighting, until one day, while going through the old newspaper archives, I came across s story on the Oct. 17 1966, 23rd st. fire that killed 12 firemen. Looking at those pictures, I felt almost as if I knew some of those guys, but the one I kept coming back to was Bernard A. Tepper.
Eventually, I moved to NYC right after 9/11, and as I looked into the life of Bernard Tepper, it seemed that our lives were parallel. We both work/worked in the community, have/had a strong tie to working with children and are/were very active in the community. We also both worked for the City of New York, and as I recently found out, my family had roots in the city around the same time of the 23rd St. fire.
Long story short, I now believe I might be the reincarnated fire fighter Bernard Tepper who died in the line of duty in Oct., 1966.