LINCOLN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A firefighter with Alexis Fire Department went out for a jog while on duty Thursday morning but never made it back to the fire station.
"He was an outstanding person, great guy to be around and he loved the fire service and everything it stood for," said Lt. Robert Drew of Alexis Fire Department.
According to officials, firefighter Joshua Warren had just returned from a medical call when he took part in a physical fitness training at East Lincoln Middle School. He was jogging around 11 a.m. when he collapsed.
Emergency officials said bystanders were in the area when Warren collapsed. They called for help.
Fire officials said medics rushed the firefighter to CHS-Lincoln Medical Center, where he later died.
"It's not common that you see that," said East Lincoln County Fire Captain Ben Reagan. "Most firefighters are physically fit. Most departments, when they're on duty, require them to work out for a certain of time each day."
Warren, 34, was working part-time for Alexis Fire Department at the time, according to officials.
Warren has been an active member of East Lincoln Fire Department since 2013. In addition, he worked part-time as a firefighter for Alexis Fire Department.
He was a father of two children, an 8-year-old daughter named Kelsey and a 4-year-old son named Max.
"Warren was a dedicated firefighter and very active in the organization and his church," officials said during a press conference Thursday evening. "He will be greatly missed."
In a release earlier Thursday, officials called Warren a "pivotal part of the departments in which he served."
Colleagues say the 34-year-old wanted to make sure he was up to the task for the physically demanding job of firefighting.
"From what I knew about Josh, he was passionate about being in shape for this job. And he did run. He was a runner," said Lt Drew.
Officials said a full investigation into Warren's death will take place.
Fire officials said they don't yet know what exactly happened to Warren while he was jogging. They couldn't say if he had a previous medical condition. They said his physical fitness record will be part of the investigation.
"This is going to be a time of grieving, which we've had to do too many times in this area," officials said, adding that counselors were being brought in to the stations.
Warren's death marks the third on-duty firefighter death in the area in the past six weeks.
Twenty-year-old Richard Sheltra, a Pineville volunteer firefighter, was killed in the line of duty on April 30 when he responded to a three-alarm fire on Pineville-Matthews Road at the Edwin Watts golf store.
MOBILE USERS: Click here to hear from Sheltra's mother on his legacy
Twenty-eight-year-old firefighter Bradley Long, who was a volunteer with Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue, died earlier this month during a recovery mission for a missing swimmer on Lake Norman.
Officials said three divers, including Long, encountered an emergency during the effort and Long didn't surface. His body was later recovered.
MOBILE USERS: Click here to read more about Long's death