NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A North Haven firefighter has died from a medical emergency, according to the North Haven Fire Department.

The fire department said 50-year-old Anthony DeSimone had just completed a 38-hour continuous shift and was relieved from his duty when he suffered a medical emergency as he was arriving home.

Officials said family members witnessed DeSimone collapse and called 911. He was then transported to the Yale New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

DeSimone was a 23-year North Haven Fire Department veteran and was previously hired as a North Haven volunteer firefighter with the Northeast Volunteer Fire Company #4.

Retired North Haven Fire Department commissioner Peter Criscuolo says DeSimone is like family.

“Anthony is like a nephew to me. I’ve been with his family since he was born 50 years ago. I pushed him in the carriage,” he said.

Criscuolo says he also pushed DeSimone to become a first responder.

“Anthony was the firefighter you want to go into a burning building with because he’s going to lead the way and he’s going to lead you out. Good man. Good, good man,” Criscuolo said. “Very devoted man, very smart. He just passed the lieutenant’s exam. He was next up for lieutenant.”

DeSimone is the second North Haven firefighter to die in eight months. Back in December, firefighter Matthias Wirtz died while battling a fire the morning after Christmas.

DeSimone spoke with News 8 in March while remembering his brother firefighter.

“When you get to know him like anyone got to know him — he just like instantly became your best friend. And, again, he did anything and everything you asked him. He was that guy. He would just come out there and do it for you, and he’s there,” DeSimone said in March.

Criscuolo says DeSimone and Wirtz came into the fire department together.

“The bitter irony of this passing, this tragic passing, is that today would have been Matt’s birthday; and Anthony had been preparing to celebrate that birthday with Matt’s family posthumously,” North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda (R-Conn.) said.

Visiting hours are scheduled for Aug. 30 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Havens Family North Haven Funeral Home. Family and friends are also invited to attend the Mass of Christian burial on Aug. 31 at 10 a.m. at St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Parish at St. Therese Church.