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Fire department, community helping Salem Township firefighter after fire damages home

DALEVILLE, Ind. - A variety of donations have come in to help a family get through a difficult time. Jason Murphy, who is a volunteer firefighter at the Salem Township Fire Department, lost most of his possessions Tuesday night in a fire.

According to Murphy, he was the only one home that evening when he noticed smoke from the back of the house. He called 911 and shut off his gas and electricity, then waited for his fellow firefighters to arrive and help.

“It’s a completely different situation being on the other end," said Murphy. "They got here really quick but it seems like when you’re standing there watching everything you own, go up in flames, it seems like an eternity and you feel helpless.”

Murphy was the only one home when the fire started and he thought the home would have fallen to the ground if no one was home when it began.

"The damage is pretty extensive to the rear kitchen and bathroom area on the first floor," said Salem Township Fire Department Chief Todd Lewis. "The fire did travel up the back wall and up to the upper floor. So there is a lot of heavy smoke and heat damage up above too.”

Crews needed roughly 40 minutes to get the fire under control and had to stay at Murphy's home for a few hours to monitor some hot spots.

“Unfortunately most everything is gone, but thank God my family wasn’t home and my kids were all safe and we can replace everything," said Murphy.

Later Tuesday night, the donations started coming in. Salem Township firefighters began bringing the family, clothing and food. Since then, more donations have come through including people who have been dropping off money for Murphy, his fiancé and their four children.

“I would want some help if it happened to me, I’m sure," said Mary McCartney, who dropped money off at the Murphy home Thursday afternoon.

The following is a list of items the department has asked for help collecting on its Facebook page:

  • Boy (7): Pants/shorts size 10; shirts M/L; Shoes size 6
  • Boy (6) : Pants/Shorts size 8; Shirts S/M; Shoe size 3 wide
  • Girl (7): Pants/shorts size 8; shirts S/M; Shoe size 3
  • Male: Pants 44x32; shirts 3 XL
  • Female: Pants 12 (tall); Shirts M/L

“It’s been unbelievable," Murphy said about the support he and his family had already seen. "We’ve been in a state of shock. Between the community and all the fire departments and my co-workers support, and family, we’ve been extremely blessed, we’re working through it.”

The Salem Township Fire Department also makes EMS runs for the area. In all, there are 45 volunteers who help protect the southwestern Delaware County community.

“He’s given up a lot of time to help people and we’d be doing this for anybody who was in this situation," said Lewis. "We would be doing the same kind of effort to help that family as well because everybody, when they lose everything, can’t fathom what to do next.”

Murphy and most of his family is staying in an RV parked by their house. He said the family is waiting on their insurance to find out if the home can be saved or not.

Murphy had lived in the home for the past eight years as a renter and was in the process of buying the home. He and his fiancé plan to get married on the property next month.