Phil Mortensen, who was Brooklyn’s fire chief for 38 years, died Saturday.
Mortensen was a member of the Brooklyn fire department for 42 years and was instrumental in establishing the Brooklyn EMS service.
A lifetime resident of Brooklyn, he owned Mortensen Auto there.
Brooklyn EMT Cathy Anderson said Sunday the cause of death hadn’t been released. She said the U.S. Fire Administration deemed it a “line-of-duty” death because Mortensen, 67, responded to an emergency call within 24 hours of his death, even though he didn’t die while on a call.
“It wasn’t that he was out on an active call and then went down,” she said. “He was on a call within 24 hours of his own personal medical emergency.”
Family friend Bob Fahey, who worked with “Mort” in the early 1980s and is a member of the Evansville Fire District, said Mortensen gave unselfishly to the fire department.
“I believe he is an unusual individual in this day in age, as he always was willing to help others first and foremost, before worrying about himself,” Fahey said.
Even though he was the chief, Mortensen always “dug in” with the younger firefighters and worked as hard or harder than they did, Fahey said.
“Being fire chief for 38 continuous years also speaks volumes about his character,” he said.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Brooklyn Area Fire and EMS Protection District Building, 401 W. Main St. in Brooklyn. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the fire station and at 10 a.m. Saturday.