Renovations begin on new home for victims of fatal St. Cloud fire

Volunteers hope to finish repairs by March

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

ST. CLOUD, Fla. - Renovations are underway at a new home for a family who lost everything after a fire in Osceola County claimed the life of an 11-year-old boy.

News 6 reported earlier this week that the community is rallying behind the Vega family and getting them a new home after the tragedy.

The work day started early Saturday as crews unloaded the equipment to repair the roof of the St. Cloud home. 

"We've got to work on the roof because the roof was damaged during the hurricane and naturally, it's old," Lois Peter said. "We're putting up a new roof and then hopefully we can get started on the outside and inside."

The home renovation is a huge undertaking for the volunteers, but Lois Peter and Jim Preston said it is a small thing they can do for a family that lost so much. 

"They have nothing and we're just trying to give them something," Jim Preston said.

Most of the volunteers helping out Saturday were there when the Vegas' home caught fire in October. The mother, Elianny Vega, and her two daughters made it out alive, but her 11-year-old son James Vega died in the blaze.

"The screams, the screams from the mother, the family. I still can't get it out of my head," Peter said. 

That's when Peter and Preston knew they had to do something to help the Vega family. They worked with the community to secure a new home on 12th Street, just a few blocks away from the Vegas' old home, but it needs a lot of work.

"We'll have to tear up all of this floor, replace the floor. We're going to replace the walls," Preston said.

They're starting from scratch and rebuilding a new home -- a new place for the Vega family to build new memories. 

"We're going to try to help the tragedy ease a little bit," Preston said. 

They're working to make a difference for the family, but say they need more hands. Peter said they're hoping more volunteers will help with landscaping, cleaning up trash, painting and turning the house into a home. 

"If God is good and we can get the donations and volunteers, maybe we can get them in by March. It's going to be a lot of work," Peter said.

But they said it will be worth it when the Vegas move into their new home.  

"They're really excited and they're like, 'When, when, when?'" Peter said.

Peter tells News 6 several local businesses are donating a lot of the supplies, but they really need volunteers to help renovate the home. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Peter at 407-914-0330. 

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