January 30, 1975
Fire Rips E. Camden Home Leaving Four Youngsters Dead

Camden Courier-Post * January 31, 1975


Thomas R Daley - Gary Mason - Anna Bier - Paul Marioni - Stewart Street - Garden Avenue - Thomas C. Blair - Louis C. Riegert
Geraldine Binder - John Spataro - Anthony De Pasquale -  Marlene Spataro - Jackie Binder
 - Danny Spataro -  Jack Wolfson

Left: Lone fireman stands on porch of East Camden house in which four children died early today. House is at 433 Garden Avenue.

Right: Mrs. Gary Miller, a neighbor and relative, comforts 12 year-old Danny Spataro after he learns his three brothers and sister were killed today in a fire at 433 Garden Avenue, Camden

Camden Courier-Post * January 30, 1975

Ronny Rabena - Jim Harrison - Barbara Rabena - Francis X. McGraw School

Camden Courier-Post * January 31, 1975

Jim White - George Powell - William Camp - Camden Marine Salvage
Anthony G. Depasqaule Sr. - William Binder - Dante C.V. Spataro

John Spataro, Remembered

For over 42 years, I have searched in vain to find any information on one of my dearest friends in my 5th grade class: John Spataro.

In January 1975, I was on my way to school as I usually was, but there was nothing ordinary about this day. Several of my classmates intercepted me before I arrived at McGraw Elementary School to let me know “he is not dead yet!” I wasn’t sure what they were alluding to, until, of course, I arrived at school. There, I realized my life would change forever. As I saw my teacher, Mrs. Salzman and my fellow classmates huddled together in the courtyard crying uncontrollably, I now knew what the students were trying to tell me. But who?

I was devastated to find out that my dearest friend, John Spataro and several of his siblings had perished in a house fire the night before. I was in complete and utter shock.

Fast forward to today. I have been searching for any news about this very tragic event in my life for many years now; forty-two years to be exact. Let me tell you the type of friend John was. On one occasion, our 5th grade class was working on our science projects (a diorama, to be precise), and it had been due, much to my surprise. As I walked to the courtyard to line up, I, to my concern, was the only one in the class who did not have the diorama. I was so nervous, as I was a top student. This would surely devastate my very good science grade. John, as he usually did, came to the rescue. He took his diorama (he had the largest box out of all the other students) and proceeded to cut it in half. He had scissors, glue and extra little plastic animals in his book bag. He instructed me to cut some grass and pick a few twigs and place them strategically in the new half a box that I now have. I completed the assignment and submitted it to the teacher. We both received As on the assignment. 

I loved John for that spirit. He was one of the best friends I ever had at school. This is why I have never forgotten him. 

John made such an impression on me that I literally never forgot what he looked like. Sure enough, when I saw his picture in the news article, it all came back to me. He looked exactly as I remembered. I prefer to keep that image of him in my mind forever; that super happy kid with the dimpled cheeks. May you Rest In Peace my dear friend John... You are truly missed!!

Sergio Parsi, Jr.
December 16, 2017