On Wednesday, hundreds of firefighters from dozens of departments came together to honor 26-year-old Colin McFadden at a wake in Bristol.
“We always came together when the whistle blew, so that’s the bottom line. That’s why we’re here today,” said Simsbury retired Assistant Fire Chief Dan Hayes.
“When something like this happens, it hits close to home. They’re a volunteer organization just as we are, and we can feel for their loss just as much as they do. And we want to show our support to the fact that we’re there for them,” said Simsbury Volunteer Fire Chief Jim Baldis.
The Burlington Volunteer Firefighter suffered a medical emergency while fighting a fire in New Hartford last week and died Thursday. Fire officials say McFadden had an undiagnosed form of leukemia.
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“He was an incredible man to go through all the training, EMT, and all the things he did as a volunteer at the age of 26-years-old. He should be looked up to,” said New Hartford Volunteer Deputy Fire Chief John Wabrek.
Those who knew McFadden described him as funny and someone always willing to jump in. Firefighters say he made his community better, and they are grateful for his service.
It’s a day that everyone hopes will never come, but there’s also nowhere else they’d choose to be.
“We’re here to help them out. They need anything for support, to talk to. We’re just a big group, a membership. Words can’t explain the sadness for today and tomorrow,” said New Hartford Volunteer Fire Chief Mark Worsman.
Making sure the family and Burlington Fire Department know they have that support is what every firefighter spoke about. So on Thursday when 26-year-old Colin McFadden is laid to rest, they won’t do it alone.
“It’s a brotherhood. They need to know that we are in this together. They don’t stand alone. They’ll never stand alone,” said Shelton Volunteer Fire Captain Mike Pellegrino.
Officials tell us that Lt. Samod Rankins came to pay his respects at the wake in Bristol on Wednesday. The New Haven firefighter was injured during a house fire that killed a fellow firefighter.