The St. Cloud community was rocked — twice — by tragedy early Saturday morning.

A pair of house fires occurred blocks apart at nearly the same time, displacing a family of four and a two-story home with nearly a dozen people, including special-needs teens and adults. The buildings and the families’ belongings are a total loss, but there were no fatalities, a blessing for two fires, let alone one, in the middle of the night.

We are proud of our response, it really shined between the St. Cloud Police and Fire Department (Kissimmee Fire Department and Osceola County Fire/Rescue were also at the ready), their quick work made a big difference in the outcome.

Pete Gauntlett

Chief, St. Cloud Police Department

And, as what usually happens quickly in our community, it has assembled to be part of a solution.

There are GoFundMe accounts set up dedicated to the Baxter and Foster families, but local businesses and responders have quickly set up ways to help the families directly right in town.

Cobblestone Courtyard, the downtown eatery and event space, will hold a spaghetti dinner and dessert benefit on Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to raise money so the families can rebound from Saturday’s fires. The donation is $10 per person, and all proceeds raised will be divided and split equally between the families.

Angie Redman of Cobblestone (1403 11th Street) said the meals can be ordered to go, but asks those attending reach out to her (407-498-3090) or Sheri Meade ( or 407-655-5271) for a rough headcount so they make sure to make enough spaghetti.

Fortunately there was no loss of life, but now is the time to recover. We need people to help from the community to help these people financially. It’s a total loss if you look at the building. This house, with special needs children, we’re going to need to rebuild, and help them in any way we can.

Bill Sturgeon

City Manager, City of St. Cloud

Attendees can also bring gift cards for food, groceries, Amazon, etc., that will allow families to purchase necessities; they can also be taken to St. Cloud Police or Fire Department as well.

“We are asking people to not bring clothing or furniture items right now; we have no way to wash or store those items,” Angie Redman, owner of Cobblestone Courtyard said.

So come have some spaghetti with the folks at Cobblestone — and those in town rushing in to help — along with those gift cards, in order to make a positive difference in the lives of two afflicted St. Cloud families.