Police: ‘Catastrophic damage’ prevents cause from being determined in New Hartford fire

The cause of a three-alarm blaze in New Hartford, Conn., on Aug. 10, 2021, where a firefighter fell ill and would later die has been deemed undetermined after an investigation, officials said.

NEW HARTFORD — Officials say they cannot determine the cause of an August fire due to the extensive damage caused by the blaze.

In a statement Friday, Connecticut State Police said the agency’s Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit worked alongside the New Hartford Fire Marshal’s Office to investigate the origin and cause of a fire, which they listed as occurring at 526 Main St.-2 Bridge St., on Aug. 10.

Burlington Firefighter Collin McFadden, who was among the mutual aid units to respond to help battle the three-alarm blaze that day, became sick while at the fire and later died at the hospital.

State police said the investigation, which included witness interviews and an examination of the fire scene, revealed that the fire started in the back of the building before extending throughout the structure.

“Due to the catastrophic damage caused by the fire, the Investigative Team was not able to identify the ignition source that caused the fire,” state police said. “The cause of the fire remains undetermined. The case will be closed.”

McFadden, a 26-year-old firefighter and EMT and six-year veteran with the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department, was initially listed in critical condition at the hospital, but died days later. Officials said doctors found an “undiagnosed medical condition” during his treatment. The Burlington fire chief later said McFadden was diagnosed with a form of leukemia.

Connecticut Media Group