The Deputy Volunteer Fire Department poses in front of its newly donated fire truck on Christmas Eve: Randy Hazelwood (far left), Rusty Hazelwood, Fire Chief Mike Hazelwood (sitting in truck), Rob Stidham, Kris Colen, Mike Shelton, Erika Hazelwood, Ryan Wells, Larry Dunham, William Miller, Bobby Hazelwood, Jason Collins, Josh Royalty, Ashlie Stidham, and Jacob Lowry (Courier staff photo by Trenton Scroggins)
The Deputy Volunteer Fire Department poses in front of its newly donated fire truck on Christmas Eve: Randy Hazelwood (far left), Rusty Hazelwood, Fire Chief Mike Hazelwood (sitting in truck), Rob Stidham, Kris Colen, Mike Shelton, Erika Hazelwood, Ryan Wells, Larry Dunham, William Miller, Bobby Hazelwood, Jason Collins, Josh Royalty, Ashlie Stidham, and Jacob Lowry (Courier staff photo by Trenton Scroggins)
When a house fire broke out Friday morning, Deputy Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Hazelwood and his crew received the call while sitting at a McDonald’s in North Vernon.

The crew had been traveling north to explore a potential vehicle donation to the department as part of its rebuilding project, a project that, according to its Facebook page, plans to get the firefighters “back on their feet” after a mid-December structural fire left the crew without a building, vehicles or equipment.

Since the fire, the department has received much attention, particularly on Facebook, where the story of their loss and need for assistance reached donors from as far as New York and Texas. Within a week of the incident, the German Township Fire Department from the Evansville area, donated a 1979 pumper vehicle to Deputy’s cause, and, according to Hazelwood, another vehicle donation is in progress and that vehicle may be retrieved within the next week.

The crew started a Facebook page for donations to their cause soon after the December fire, and since has raised more than $4,000, just $900 short of its $5,000 goal. The department also has released a list on its Facebook page outlining the crew’s needs during the rebuilding process. A fish fry will be Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Kent Volunteer Fire Company from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. to benefit the Deputy department.

“We have gotten a lot of messages and phone calls from people wanting to donate equipment,” the department’s Facebook post reads. “We have finally had a chance to sit down and come up with a list of items that we need. If you or your department have any of these items that you would like to donate, please feel free to contact us. Thank you.”