2002-05-04 / Front Page

O’Brien Fundraiser Being Held

O’Brien Fundraiser Being Held

On Saturday, May 18, a fundraiser will be held to benefit the O’Brien family, a local family of 8 whose house was destroyed by a fire on March 31. The fast-moving fire, sparked by a space heater left between the child’s bedroom and the family’s living room, raged through the Beach 87 Street home, which killed two-year old Melissa O’Brien and injured three other family members.

The blaze, which began about 1:15 a.m., quickly destroyed the wood-frame and brick home at 228 Beach 87 Street. The floor, shared by the parents and six children, was completely gutted by the fire.

Three of the older boys, twins Desjan and Arta Maloka, 14, and their brother Sani Maloka, 10, managed to escape through a window on the side of the house after the younger boy smelled smoke and alerted the other two. Two other young children, JJ, 5, and Sania Maloku, 10, also escaped, leaving the blazing home with their mother.

Cynthia Maschi, the family’s mother, reportedly carried the youngest child, four-month-old Ashley, from the fire. Cynthia and her husband, Matthew O’Brien reportedly ran back into the house to look for the two-year-old, but could not reach her. Her body was recovered by firefighters about a half an hour after the fire was brought under control.

The family had been given four months to look for a new home, but family members say it was hard for them to find a place because of the number of children in the family.

The event, starting at 3 p.m., will be held at RBI’s, located on Beach 90 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. There will be a complimentary buffet, and the entertainment segment will feature Rockaway artist Gerald Bair and other guest performers, from 4 to 6 p.m. DJ Party Artie will spin dance music starting at 7 p.m. For more information on the event, you can call RBI’s at (718) 945-6122.

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