OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. (WESH) —There’s been an amazing turn of events for the people who fled for their lives Friday when the hotel where they were staying burned in Osceola County.
The three-alarm, early morning fire displaced about 250 residents of the Unno Motel in the 2000 block of East Irlo Bronson Highway.
About 157 of the displaced people spent Friday night in a shelter in a middle school gym. On Saturday, they got a big surprise from Congressman-elect Darren Soto, D-Fla., and other local officials: a free weekend at Walt Disney World.
One of the Unno guests, Dolly Burgos, initial reaction to the fire and loss of all of her family’s possessions was “happy, crappy holidays.” She didn’t know where her family would spend Christmas
By Saturday evening, she and her children were on a bus headed to the Magic Kingdom.
Soto worked with Disney and other local officials to arrange a free two-day holiday stay, including park tickets, for 40-60 families affected by the fire. Soto told WESH 2 News, “The timing of it having to spend Christmas in a middle school gym was too much too bear so I’m glad our community came together to make this happen.”
The Unno Botique extended stay was home to many low-income families and children. A large part of the hotel was destroyed by the fire, which began before 5 a.m. Friday, and continued to smolder into Friday afternoon.
The Red Cross is one of several agencies helping the former Unno residents. The Red Cross is asking for donations of money to help these and other disaster victims, but advises not to bring dishes of food. The Osceola Council on
Aging is one of the lead agencies in this effort, and is collecting donations of specific items for the people affected by the fire. The items most in need now are: socks, toiletry items, personal hygiene items for women, and diapers.
Donations are collected at the Council on Aging, 700 Generation Point, Kissimmee. Osceola County has also established an online fundraising effort that is the most prominent item on the county government website, http://www.osceola.org.
Almost everyone who was staying at the temporary shelter at the middle school accepted the present of the weekend at Disney World. Only about three people remained at the shelter Saturday night. How long the school shelter will operate, and what the people will do Monday when their holiday stay at Disney ends, are unknown at this time.
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