HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Gov. Ned Lamont directed the U.S. and state flags lowered to half staff on Monday in honor of Sandy Hook Fire Chief William Halstead, who died after responding to a call Friday.

Halstead, 73, joined the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Co. on his 16th birthday in 1965 and became chief in 1978. He also was Newtown’s emergency management director and previously served for many years as the town’s fire marshal.

Halstead died Friday after returning home from a call and becoming ill in his home, according to the fire department. Fire officials said he fell ill when he returned home, and first responders were unable to resuscitate him.

Sandy Hook Fire Chief William Halstead (Credit: Sandy Hook Fire)

“Chief Halstead provided decades of service to the community in which he grew up and the community he loved,” Lamont said in a statement. “His dedication is exemplary, and we are lucky to have leaders like him protecting the residents of Connecticut.

“His passing after responding to a call in the line of duty is heartbreaking, and I send my deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and fellow firefighters from the Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company,” the governor said.

Flags will remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of Halstead’s internment, which has not been set.