DEPUTY, IN (WAVE) - It’s been a little more than two weeks since a fire destroyed the Deputy Volunteer Fire Department building in Jefferson County, Indiana.
“It’s been pretty busy,” Chief Mike Hazelwood said. “Trying to take care of insurance, getting the list of equipment and stuff in the firehouse that was lost in a note to get all that turned in for insurance purposes. Trying to gather up equipment and loaner stuff on our apparatus. We’ve had lots of people calling, donating equipment for us.”
Hazelwood said they have received dozens of donations, both money and equipment. Those donations are helping them get back on their feet as a department.
“It means a lot," he said. "You know you don’t think this will ever happen to you and when it does it’s been unreal to see the support that we’ve had.”
Departments from across Indiana are helping, and some from out of state, too.
‘We’ve had people from Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Texas... wanting to help us out if they could,” Hazelwood said.
After the fire, the department lost three of its four trucks, as well as equipment.
A lot of that equipment, like air tanks and hoses, have been replaced, thanks to departments across the state.
The Deputy Volunteer Fire Department’s 12 volunteer firefighters usually respond to 20 to 25 calls a year. They haven’t had any since the fire on Dec. 17.
Hazelwood said even if they had a call, they would be ready.
“The day of the fire, before we were ever even done with the fire at the firehouse, there was North Vernon in Jennings County. They had an engine down here sitting for us to use as a loaner before we were ever even finished,” Hazelwood recalled. “And then one of our other neighboring departments, Hanover Fire Department, loaned us a tanker to use. So by the time we were done, we had equipment ready and we could actually respond.”
A few days after the fire, the German Township Fire Department donated their 1979 Pierce pumper to the department. Deputy VFD is currently getting it ready to use.
Hazelwood said the cause of the fire was electrical.
The volunteer fire department moved into a temporary building just down the street from their destroyed firehouse. They plan to use that space until they can build a new one.
“It's just going to take a lot more money to rebuild than what we are going to receive from our insurance and stuff,” Hazelwood said. “We would like to go a little bigger than we had. We had outgrown the department building 20 years ago, so it's going to take a lot of money to rebuild the structure.”
Department leaders said they have enough equipment, but now they need money to help them get by with all of the expenses that comes with rebuilding. The department is funded by grants, donations and fundraisers.
If you would like to donate, click or tap here, or mail a check or money order to:
Deputy Volunteer Fire Department
PO Box 135
Deputy, IN 47230
Please make sure to put a return address on the envelope.