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Malta community ramps up support after fatal fire

Malta community ramps up support after fatal fire

GoFundMe account and community event aim to help family displaced from Wednesday fire
Malta community ramps up support after fatal fire
Pictured is the home at 11 Woodshire Court in Malta where a fatal fire broke out Wednesday evening.
Photographer: Erica Miller

MALTA — The community continues to show support for the Broadbent family after a deadly fire destroyed the family's home on Wednesday. 

A GoFundMe account, which originally launched with a $5,000 goal, has been revised to $100,000 by creator Catherine D'Avella Opela, a neighbor of the Broadbent family.

By early evening on Friday, nearly $20,000 had been raised. 

"It's incredible," D'Avella Opela said. "When more details came to light in terms of hospitalizations, it was clear that we'd have to step up our efforts."

Eric Edwards, 32, died in the fire, which began in the Broadbent family's garage at 11 Woodshire Court in the Country Knolls neighborhood at around 9:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Edwards was one of 10 adopted children of Janette and Glenn Broadbent Sr. Seven of the children reportedly have significant disabilities.

Glenn, 60, was flown to Westchester Medical Center for treatment of burns and was in critical condition as of Thursday afternoon. Janette, 64, was released from Albany Medical Center on Thursday. 

Marcus Broadbent, 12, and Lucus Broadbent, 5, suffered smoke inhalation and were taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment. It was not known whether they were still in the hospital as of Friday night. 

Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said that, while the cause of the fire was still under investigation, is not believed to be suspicious.

D'Avella Opela said she is grateful for the power of social media. 

"Without it, there's no way we could've achieved this kind of impact this quickly," she said of the GoFundMe account, which has been shared more than 1,400 times on social media.

D'Avella Opela said her goal is to keep the momentum going.

"We need to keep this in the forefront of people's minds, because sometimes the interest can fizzle after things happen," she said. "It'll take a lot of time and resources to get this family back on their feet. I don't want them to be forgotten."

Other community members have also organized an event for Sunday to benefit the family. 

A lemonade stand will be available starting at 3 p.m. on Sunday at 1 Huntington Parkway in Ballston Lake. Proceeds from the event will be given to the Broadbent family, and cash and gift card donations will also be accepted. 

Material donations have ceased due to the large amount received. 

According to a neighbor who did not want to be identified, the Broadbent family is looking to rent a home in the Shenendehowa Central School District, where four of their children are enrolled. 

The house must be large enough for 11 people and have two bedrooms on the first floor because of the children's disabilities. 

To make cash or gift card donations, or to send housing information, email adagostino11@gmail.com, or visit the "Broadbent Family Fire Relief" Facebook page. 

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