DEPUTY, IN (WAVE) – A volunteer fire department suffered extensive damage in a fire on Monday morning, despite a large effort by neighboring agencies to help put it out.
The fire was reported at the Deputy Volunteer Fire Department, located at 14275 Mulberry St., around 11:40 a.m., according to Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department Captain Keith Hartman.
“Everything they had was in that building,” Hartman said. “It’s devastating.”
When firefighters arrived, they saw flames in the attic of the fire station.
“A lot of us have grown up at this fire house, I grew up here,” Ashlie Stidham, Secretary of the Deputy Volunteer Fire Company, said.
That’s why so many people responded to the 911 call that the department was on fire.
Four trucks were inside the station when the fire started. Firefighters were able to get one out of the building, but then they were overcome with smoke.
The fire burned for an hour before they could get it under control.
“It’s looking like we lost all three of our large trucks,” Stidham said. “We got our brush truck out -- it’s our newest truck.”
The damage from the fire is a high price for the volunteer station.
“To replace those trucks it’s gonna cost a million dollars," Madison Township Fire Department Chief Robert Black said. "And the building itself is another $250,000 to $300,000 more.”
Hartman said the building was substantially damaged and the roof partially collapsed.
“It’s detrimental to this small community,” Black said.
Despite the damage and the loss of equipment, the people of Deputy are grateful no one was hurt and for all of the surrounding agencies who came to their aid.
“All our sister neighboring departments are here -- it’s really touching,” Stidham said.
Hartman said other agencies have already put together a plan to loan extra gear and trucks to the department. He also said arrangements to temporarily move the station to another building in town were being made.
“With the help of our friends and families, all the other fire departments, they will help us through this,” Stidham said.
No one was inside the station when the fire started. The cause of the fire is under investigation.