NORTH HAVEN — The North Haven community and law enforcement community came together to help a deputy and his family whose home was heavily damaged in a fire.

The family lost two dogs and all their personal belongings in the Wednesday evening, Dec. 8 blaze on North Haven.

The deputy, Josh Lemoi, with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, was attending the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro, and was in his final weeks to become a certified law enforcement officer when the fire occurred around 4 p.m. Dec. 8.

The house is owned by the town, but provided to the deputy who serves the island. The Maine Fire Marshal’s Office sent out an investigator. The investigation looked at the possibility the fire was either the result of the woodstove or electrical, but no final determination has been made.

A GoFundMe account was created, and within two days, 713 donors contributed $103,000 to help the family. The money came from island residents but also from people in other communities, as well as other police officers from across the state.

“The loss of all of our personal items and two dogs has been emotionally draining on our family,” said daughter, Alexa Lemoi, on the GoFundMe page. “I am looking to raise as much money as possible, and give the money we raise to my family for Christmas to help rebuild our home.”

Knox County Sheriff Tim Carroll praised the assistance from the community.

“The island has been awesome and the outpouring of support for them has been just amazing,” the sheriff said Saturday evening.

Lemoi has been assigned to North Haven since 2020 after a career in the Coast Guard. He had been stationed in Rockland in the early 2000s.

His service has been recognized by Selectboards from both North Haven and neighboring Vinalhaven.

“We want to say how pleased we are with Deputy Lemoi. His approach to law enforcement — straightforward, even-handed community policing — is precisely what North Haven has wanted in a deputy. The Town has been able to work out an arrangement with Deputy Lemoi and your office to provide Deputy Lemoi and his family with housing that we hope will make them feel welcome on the island for a long time to come,” then North Haven Board Chair Jonathan Demmons said in a July 2020 letter to Knox County.

At a December 2020 meeting of the Vinalhaven Selectboard, board member Phil Crossman praised Lemoi’s work, and said he had set the bar high for community involvement and law enforcement on the islands.

North Haven has a year-round population of 417, according to the 2020 U.S. Census, but swells during the summer with the arrival of seasonal residents and visitors. The island is located 12 miles off Rockland in Penobscot Bay. The island is served by the Maine State Ferry Service.