Brevard shoe drive could benefit children who escaped apartment fire

Residents 'lost everything' in fire police say arsonist started

By James Sparvero - Reporter

COCOA, Fla. - A shoe fund that has been helping underprivileged Brevard County children for more than 40 years is stepping in to help more than a dozen children who lost their belongings after a suspected arsonist set fire to a housing complex.

Cocoa police said Randy Jones, 30, a tenant at the triplex at Fiske Boulevard and Courts Street, set his apartment on fire Thursday and watched it burn.

Jones appeared in front of a judge Friday on three counts of arson of an occupied structure.

Police said there were 22 people in the other two units, where the fire spread. They included more than a dozen children having a sleepover a few days before the start of the new school year.

A grandmother told News 6 the children lost everything, including their new school supplies.

On Friday, Fred Reitz, with the Kiwanis Club of Rockledge, offered free shoes for all the children.
 
"I was devastated by what I saw," Reitz said. "We can help out this family and get them back on the right foot. It's all about being human."

Reitz is working with the families to get the kids' ages and shoe sizes. He said the shoes will be delivered as early as Saturday.

Jones remains in the county jail on a $450,000 bail. If convicted Jones faces life in prison.

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