Conn. volunteer firefighter-EMT dies 2 days after suffering medical emergency at fire

Burlington Volunteer Firefighter-EMT Colin McFadden, 26, had been with the department for six years

Duty Death: Colin McFadden - [Burlington, Connecticut]

End of Service: 08/10/2021


Rebecca Lurye
Hartford Courant

BURLINGTON, Conn. — A 26-year-old Burlington volunteer firefighter died Thursday, two days after he suddenly became ill while fighting the blaze at the historic New Hartford House.

Colin McFadden, a six-year firefighter and EMT in Burlington, had been transported from the scene to an area hospital in critical condition and underwent emergency surgery, according to Burlington Volunteer Fire Department Chief Michael Boucher. During his care, McFadden’s medical team discovered a previously undiagnosed medical condition that caused his illness, Boucher said.

Colin McFadden, a six-year firefighter and EMT in Burlington, had been transported from the scene to an area hospital in critical condition and underwent emergency surgery, according to Burlington Volunteer Fire Department Chief Michael Boucher.
Colin McFadden, a six-year firefighter and EMT in Burlington, had been transported from the scene to an area hospital in critical condition and underwent emergency surgery, according to Burlington Volunteer Fire Department Chief Michael Boucher. (Photo/Burlington Volunteer Fire Department)

He remained in the intensive care unit Wednesday and succumbed to his illness Thursday morning, fire officials confirmed.

Gov. Ned Lamont later directed flags be lowered to half-staff to honor McFadden.

“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of Burlington Firefighter Colin McFadden, who responded early Tuesday morning to a tragic fire out of a courageous sense of duty and compassion to protect the lives of others,” Lamont said, in a news release. “This is a terrible reminder of the dangers that firefighters put themselves in each time they respond to an emergency. My deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, and fellow firefighters from the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department.”

McFadden’s team was one of nearly 30 that responded or stood by for the three-alarm fire, which gutted the 124-year-old building that was home to 16 apartments and a half-dozen businesses near the center of New Hartford early Tuesday morning.

As many as 100 firefighters worked at the scene during some point in the night, officials said. They safely evacuated tenants from the apartments and contained the fire, which was reported around 2:20 a.m.

After McFadden was hospitalized, the fire department called attention to the state’s “seriously low” blood supply and encouraged people to donate blood, “not only for Colin, but for all who are in need.”

“Everyone has been asking how they can help ... you can help by donating blood as soon as possible,” Boucher said Wednesday.

Wednesday night, McFadden’s father, Shawn, thanked residents for their prayers and support.

“[It] continues to make a difference for all of us,” he wrote on Facebook. “There’s no need to match with Colin McFadden’s blood type. Donating will make a difference wherever you live.”

McFadden is the second Connecticut firefighter killed this year.

In mid-May, a fire on Valley Street in New Haven left two firemen “lost and disoriented.” Lt. Samod Rankins and Firefighter Ricardo “Rico” Torres were pulled out of the home unconscious.

Rankins was critically injured, but survived the blaze; Torres succumbed to his injuries.

Thousands of fire personnel, dressed in their navy blue suits, white gloves and individual badges representing their respective communities, traveled from around the country to honor the 30-year-old New Haven firefighter at his funeral.

The Burlington Volunteer Fire Department has not yet disclosed plans for McFadden’s funeral arrangements.

Anyone interested in donating blood can visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800- RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

©2021 Hartford Courant. Visit courant.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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