Volunteer firefighters give Young Township boy who died in fire a fitting funeral
“Little Mike” Collier finally got to ride on a fire engine — something the 8-year-old boy always wanted — when firefighters took his casket to its final resting place in Twin Valley Memorial Park in Delmont on Wednesday.
“He would ask us every time he visited, but the guys would either be too busy or it just got overlooked,” said Bill Long, chief of Grandview Volunteer Fire Department in Penn Township.
In a “smaller version of a firefighter's funeral,” about 30 members of the Grandview department and ladies auxiliary honored the little boy and his family, Long said.
Michael Jerome Collier of Young Township and Vickie Milliron, 50, of Claridge, died earlier this month in a mobile home fire on Route 286, outside of Clarksburg in Indiana County.
Collier's mother, Theresa Firek, was not home at the time of the blaze on Friday. Firek's other son, Dominic, and fiance Brian Shunk — Milliron's son — were injured in the fire and taken to UMPC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Dominic Collier remains in serious condition and Shunk has been discharged, according to a UPMC Mercy spokeswoman.
Long said Little Mike and Dominic often visited the Grandview fire station on Ridge Road with their father, Michael Collier Jr., and grandfather, Michael Collier Sr., who both were members.
“They would wash the trucks or run around and hang out with the guys,” Long said. “I called them my junior-junior firemen.”
Long said Michael always showed special interest in the station and its equipment.
“He always wanted to know what every single button and control on every single piece of equipment and apparatus did,” Long said.
Long said after the funeral, the station was somber and quiet as firefighters washed the trucks and put them back into service.
“Multiple families are mourning the sudden, tragic loss of this little boy,” Long said. “He was a brother, a son, and a grandson, but he was also a nephew to a lot of the guys here because of the brotherhood of our members. I'm just glad we were finally able to give him the ride that he never got to take.”
Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or email@example.com.
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.