Colin McFadden, a 26-year-old Burlington firefighter and EMT has died after fire officials say he became ill while battling a fire in New Hartford early Tuesday.
The 6-year member of the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department, had been listed in critical condition at John Dempsey Hospital in Farmington, according to Fire Chief Michael Boucher.
In Hartford, Gov. Ned Lamont ordered flags flown at half-staff around the state in honor of McFadden. Boucher had said McFadden suffered a medical emergency while fighting the fire.
“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 statement.
“This is a terrible reminder of the dangers that firefighters put themselves in each time they respond to an emergency,” the governor said. “My deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, and fellow firefighters from the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department.”
McFadden died Thursday morning, according to the governor’s office. Flags will remain at half-staff until sunset on the day McFadden is laid to rest, which has not yet been determined.
Tributes to the fallen firefighter began pouring in Thursday afternoon.
Boucher spoke about the young firefighter at a press conference Thursday, joined by a large group of members.
“Colin was an amazing kid,” he said. “He put his heart and soul into everything he did.
“From the time he joined, he was there for every call, always ready, and always at the firehouse,” Boucher said. “After he became a fireman, he also trained and became an EMT.
“He was just a great guy,” Boucher said. “He just wanted to help in the community.”
The 26-year-old became ill while he and other firefighters were at Tuesday’s fire at the New Hartford House in the center of that town. He was taken to John Dempsey Hospital.
“Colin was diagnosed with HDL, which is a form of leukemia,” Boucher said. His family thanks everyone for their support, and commends the hospital staff, who gave him every chance to pull through.
The chief asked people to respect the family’s request for privacy, and asked all to consider donating blood.
“Since we first asked people to donate, the blood drives are filling up fast,” Boucher said, adding that a blood drive is scheduled for Saturday at Burlington Town Hall.
The family is overwhelmed by the support, Boucher said. “They didn’t realize what being in a fire department means. We are their family now.”
McFadden was a resident of Bristol.
Burlington firefighters were providing mutual aide for the three-alarm fire in New Hartford when McFadden fell ill and was transported to the hospital, according to Boucher.
Boucher said the firefighter underwent emergency surgery at the hospital, and that doctors had discovered an “undiagnosed medical condition” during his treatment. McFadden had been listed in critical condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Boucher had earlier said people could help by donating blood, as the state’s supply of blood was “seriously low.”
McFadden’s passing comes just months after the death of New Haven firefighter Ricardo Torres Jr., who died while battling a fire in the city in May.