Roll of Honor

Colin J. McFadden

Colin J. McFadden

  • Firefighter/EMT
  • Burlington Volunteer Fire Department
  • Connecticut
  • Age: 26
  • Year of Death: 2021

In the early morning hours of August 10, 2021, Colin and fellow firefighters from the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department responded to a mutual aid call from the nearby town of New Hartford. A building in the town center was engulfed in flames, and 29 departments responded. Colin and his department helped clear the building, and Colin took up working the lines. During a recovery break, he suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and collapsed. He died two days later with family and firefighters at his side.

Colin was born and raised in Bristol, Connecticut. At the age of seven he was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a type of autism. His family immediately began seeking supports to help Colin grow and learn, despite his disability. A year after his diagnosis, he appeared on a nationwide talk show, poised, confident, and smiling broadly as he was presented with an assistance dog he named Stitch. Colin struggled in his early school years but found his path as a teenager, supported by family, teachers, friends, and the community.

As an adolescent, Colin began advocating for people with autism, sharing his story with large groups as part of a panel with other autistic youth. In his later teens, he gave speeches to legislators at the state capital, championing the value of programs to help those on the autism spectrum.

His community service began in Boy Scouts, and he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. While still in school, Colin worked with Habitat for Humanity and became a licensed amateur radio operator. He joined a Hartford area radio club and provided communications for community events. His call sign was KB1YYG, and Colin was the club vice president at the time of his death. He joined the Bristol Community Emergency Response Team and managed traffic for COVID testing, distributed food for the community during the pandemic, and provided safety support for community events.

Colin joined the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department in 2015, at age 20, and completed the Connecticut firefighting training while working and attending school. The fire service meant the world to him, and he gave it all the time and effort he could. He later became an EMT, serving with the department’s emergency medical services. He helped save the life of a child shortly before he died.

Colin found a career combining his interest in electronics and fire safety as a fire alarm technician. Through these interests, he made friends across the country. He published weekly videos demonstrating alarm equipment on YouTube. He started a new job the day before the fire.

  • (will not be published)

Memorial Wall

  1. Colin you were a fantastic friend to my family. And a remarkable boyfriend to Amanda. We miss you. And we think of you daily. You will forever be in our hearts. This year has been difficult without you. God bless until we meet again.

    – cynthia rabideau