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Event benefits family of boy killed in Indiana County fire

| Friday, March 15, 2013, 1:41 a.m.

A spaghetti dinner and themed basket auction will be held Saturday to help the family of an 8-year-old boy who died in a fire last month.

Apollo-Ridge Elementary School second-grader Michael Collier was killed in a mobile home fire Feb. 18 in Young Township, Indiana County.

Vanessa Schirato and her firefighter husband, Bryan, were so touched by the boy's death they decided to hold the fundraiser to benefit his family. The spaghetti dinner, which costs $8, will be held at the Iselin fire hall in Young Township.

“My husband was one of the first responders on the scene and came home after the call and said what happened,” Vanessa Schirato said. “I felt it was necessary to put something together for the family.”

Schirato said the dinner will feature more than 130 baskets filled with goodies to be auctioned off, as well as door prizes, like gift cards.

“We never expected to have so many baskets,” Schirato said. “We really pushed for them, though.

“The baskets are all unique, some we never would have thought of doing,” she said. “The baskets are just awesome. “Probably four baskets have more than $100 worth of merchandise in them.”

Schirato said that donations have come in from the entire community, as well as from the Apollo-Ridge School District.

“Each wing of the Apollo-Ridge School District donated a basket,” she said. “Everyone has been trying to help out.”

Schirato said she doesn't know Michael's family, but is glad to help.

“Every penny goes to the family,” she said. “We want to help.”

R.A. Monti is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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