Count Gabe Kapler and his family among the people who have lost their homes to wildfires in California. Kapler’s two sons and his ex-wife, who stays at the home while he is in Philadelphia, evacuated and are unharmed. A neighbor who stayed behind to protect his home telephoned Kapler on Saturday and informed the Phillies manager that his home had been completely destroyed by the fire, with just a steel staircase still standing.
Residents of Malibu, where Kapler’s home was located, are used to having to evacuate because of the threats of fires at this time of year. However, they’re also used to returning home with the fire having missed the area. This time though, the fire ravaged the area and even wiped out the town of Paradise, California, nearby.
Kapler is using the incident to bring about awareness of the issues of wildfires and the need for help for those in need in the area. He notes that his family is one of the relatively lucky ones in that they are all safe, have a comfortable place to reside temporarily, and will have the financial means to recover and rebuild their home. Others won’t be as fortunate.
“That’s my main point for other people,” Kapler told Matt Gelb of The Athletic. “We’re good. Our family is good. There are a lot of other families who are not.
“Everything is replaceable. There’s nothing… it’s all just stuff. A home was stuff. To so many people, that home is their shelter and their safe haven. But everything we lost is replaceable.”
Kapler noted that he’s been thinking about less fortunate families who may not have the financial resources to recover from the fires. He noted that even with insurance, claims will be slow to be processed, leaving some families wondering where they’ll be able to stay and for how long.
“We have a responsibility in these times to shed light on the people who are in really, really dire straits, and there aer plenty of them,” Kapler told Gelb in their phone conversation.
Kapler is in Philadelphia for offseason meetings but is planning to return to California to spend Thanksgiving with his family. “We have a lot to be grateful for,” he said.