Magnolia teen dies from injuries sustained in fire

DOVER — Heaven gained another buddy Sunday night.

Ryan Bradford, 18, succumbed to injuries he suffered in a fire at his family’s home in Magnolia on Thursday.

Ryan Bradford succumbed Sunday to injuries he suffered in a fire at his family home in Magnolia on Thursday. (Submitted/Special Olympics)

Ryan Bradford succumbed Sunday to injuries he suffered in a fire at his family home in Magnolia on Thursday. (Submitted/Special Olympics)

He had been hospitalized in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in critical condition with smoke inhalation.

His mother April Bradford posted a photo on Facebook of her and his father, also Ryan, holding their son’s hand in his hospital room.

April Bradford wrote, “I and Ryan and Katelyn [Ryan’s sister] would love to thank everyone for all the prayers and thoughts and concerns but with sadness in our hearts and tears flowing we have to tell that Ryan Bradford II got his wings 6-26-16. We love you.”

Many of his friends from Caesar Rodney and Special Olympics Delaware offered their support to Ryan and his family when they gathered at Legislative Mall on Sunday evening for a candlelight vigil.

Prayers were offered, tears flowed and a community sent an outpouring of love to the teenager and his family. Sadly, it turned out to be a chance to say goodbye.

Dave Manwiller, area director for Special Olympics Delaware-Kent County area, talked about how Ryan always would tag along to soccer matches with his father, who is a referee, and how his dad would always refer to him as “my buddy.”

“Down the road the family is going to need your support no matter what happens,” Mr. Manwiller said, at Sunday’s vigil. “The family is going to need your support for a long time. They have to rebuild, but that’s not a major concern right now.”

Jon Buzby, the director of media relations and program innovations for Special Olympics Delaware, said that Ryan will certainly be missed.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Ryan Bradford,” Mr. Buzby said. “Ryan was a Special Olympics Athlete with the Kent Wild Kats area program and participated on Caesar Rodney High School’s Special Olympics Unified teams.

“Ryan displayed great spirit and determination as he enjoyed several team sports year-round within our program. His smile was contagious and his personality one that endeared him to anyone who knew him. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.”

Bobbie Ives-Larsen was one of more than 100 people who gathered to offer their support on Sunday. She said even though Ryan passed away, it was important for the community to gather behind him.

“It is my prayer that by showing our love and support we helped his family, in some small way, to say goodbye,” she said.

Information regarding funeral arrangements for Ryan Bradford was not available on Monday.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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