Blood drive honors life of fallen Burlington firefighter


BURLINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — A blood drive on Saturday was held in memory of Burlington firefighter/EMT Colin McFadden. The 26-year-old passed away, after battling a fire in New Hartford on Tuesday.

“We had a blood drive scheduled here by happenstance, and by request of the fire chief and Colin’s family, it has become a memorial blood drive for Colin,” said Richard Branigan, Chief Operating Officer of the American Red Cross’s Connecticut and Rhode Island region. 

During his time at the hospital, McFadden’s medical team discovered a previously undiagnosed medical condition believed to have caused the sudden illness. McFadden was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia, a rare form of leukemia. This renewed the call for blood donations as the state’s supply is low.

“This is our typical summer rhythm that we have,” explained Branigan. “It’s made worse when you have a global pandemic, and people are nervous about coming out.”

Richard Branigan, Chief Operating Officer of the American Red Cross’s Connecticut and Rhode Island region, shared how dire the situation is.

“Every two seconds, someone in the country needs blood,” said Branigan. “That translates into someone in Connecticut, just in our own state, needing it. You can imagine what those numbers look like.

Many turned out to this blood drive in honor of McFadden.

“I know Colin would have appreciated that, and the entire family, and our brave firefighters,” said Ted Shafer, the First Selectman in Burlington.

Blood donors News 8 spoke with said it’s important to help.

“I think it’s a real good thing,” said Edward Gudelski, of Harwinton.

This is just one way the community has stepped-up in the days, following his death. Donations have been made to the organizations closest to McFadden’s heart and there’s been an outpouring of support for those who knew him best. McFadden is being remembered as an amazing person, who poured his heart and soul into everything he did.

If you’re interested in donating blood, eligible individuals are encouraged to schedule an appointment to give blood by using the Red Cross Donor App, visiting, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 

Here’s a list of the organizations that touched McFadden’s life, released by the Burlington Volunteer Fire Department:

  • NorthStar Foundation 20 Deerfield Lane Storrs, CT 06268 
  • Focus Center for AutismPO Box 452326 Albany Turnpike Canton, CT 06019 
  • Gengras Center 1678 Asylum Avenue West Hartford, CT 06117 
  • Connecticut Rivers Council Boy Scouts of America 60 Darlin St East Hartford, CT 06108 
  • Shepard’s Meadows Equestrian Center 733 Hill Street Bristol, CT 06010 
  • Insurance City Repeater Club 94 Rowe Place Bristol, CT 06010 
  • Burlington Fire Department PO Box 1285 Burlington CT, 06103

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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