St. Cloud firefighters rescued six people with special needs, including some children, from a house fire early Saturday morning, according to police.
Crews were called around 2 a.m. to the blaze at a home at 900 Alabama Avenue, said Sara Brady, a spokeswoman for St. Cloud police.
Some of the special needs people in the home were bedridden and needed to be carried out by firefighters, she said. There were 11 people at the home at the time, including a full-time nurse. Those with special needs ranged in age from about 12 to early 20s, Brady said.
The home suffered significant damage. Some oxygen tanks inside the home exploded because of the heat of the fire, Brady said.
The homeowner, Gail Foster, has been adopting and caring for special needs for decades, according to a 2001 Orlando Sentinel story.
A GoFundMe page said Foster was taken to the hospital Friday morning after a fall.
“We are blessed that lives were not lost. We are also numb as we try to wrap our heads around this and begin to charge ahead toward our first challenge — housing for the whole family,” the GoFundMe page said.
There were many heroic actions by the firefighters, hospital staff and nurses in the home, the page said.
“Because of their actions, all 11 people are alive and in stable condition,” it said.
As of about 2 p.m. it raised aout $2,000. Ashley Papagni, spokeswoman for the Orlando Fire Department, said it would also help raise funds as the family is related to one of its firefighters.
“I know our members will be collecting some stuff for them all — like clothing and toiletries,” she said. “I also am thinking of the St. Cloud Firefighters for their heroic efforts. I am sure we will be doing something nice for them later down the road.”
According to the Sentinel story, Foster and her husband Bill, who has since died, started adopting children in the mid-1970s. Then in the 1990s, the began helping kids with life-threatening illnesses and disabilities.
Around the same time of Saturday morning’s fire, there was another blaze about two blocks away at 811 Georgia Avenue, Brady said. The family in that home was not injured. One of the resident’s is a St. Cloud police officer, Brady said. The Osceola County Fire Rescue department also aided in fighting the fire.
The cause of both fires is unknown. The State Fire Marshal is investigating.
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