Gofundme campaign set up for Rob and Libby Masek of Hollis, who lost everything in Jan. 8 fire

HOLLIS – Rob and Libby Masek eloped in October because they didn’t want a fancy wedding and were trying to save money to buy a house.

They skipped the luxuries often found on a wedding registry, and instead furnished their rental home with the basics for a starting couple along with a few hand-me-downs from family and friends. Libby’s parents had just downsized to a retirement home and were able to give them many items.

A two-alarm fire broke out at their home at 80 Main St. in the frigid early morning hours of Jan. 8.

The couple woke up to the screech of their smoke detectors and escaped uninjured. The house is no longer habitable, and all their belongings were ruined by either the fire, smoke or deluge of water firefighters used to douse the blaze. The couple did not have renter’s insurance.

Libby is a social worker at a nursing home in Ayer, Mass., and is trying to pay down her student loans.

Rob works for a small nonprofit organization in Somerville, Mass., Artisan’s Business Asylum, which helps give artists, hobbyists and entrepreneurs workspace and support to give form to their ideas. He also is active with MakeItLabs in Nashua, another creative hackerspace.

As word of their loss spread, a GoFundMe campaign established to help them took only 24 hours to raise more than double its initial $5,000 goal.

Holly Masek, Rob’s sister, decided to set up the
GoFundMe campaign to help them out.

“Rob is a Facebook monster,” she said. “I wanted to reach out to people I know and to people he knows online.”

Within 24 hours, the site had raised more than double the initial goal, and as of press time has raised $14,741 from 206 donors.

“I believe people were so generous and so quick to give, because Rob and Libby have devoted huge amounts of time and energy to helping others, in Nashua and beyond,” said Holly Masek.

“Everyone wanted to step up and return the favor when this happened. No one, except for maybe Rob and Libby, was surprised by the outpouring of support they received.”

In addition to money, offers have come in for clothing, household furnishings and electronics, but some of that will have to wait.

“They don’t have a place to live right now, so they don’t need stuff,” Holly explained. “They are staying with her sister or they could come live with me, but they don’t have a house. They are living out of suitcases with whatever they picked up in the last week or two. They are apartment hunting and trying to figure out what to do next.”

Despite the daunting task of starting over from scratch, Holly said the couple considers themselves lucky to be alive. They are certain the smoke detectors saved their lives, and they want to remind everyone to install smoke detectors and regularly test them. Holly said they also want to encourage tenants to purchase renter’s insurance, so others will be covered in an emergency such as this.

To contribute to the Maseks, go to http://www.gofundme.com/66r8ww.