Updated 7am

Joseph Zammit, a 48-year-old firefighter died on Sunday after finding himself in difficulty while putting out a grass fire in Pembroke.

The police said in the evening they were informed of the grass fire, caused by waste left in the area, at around 6pm.

The fire was quickly controlled but one of the firefighters developed medical problems and fainted. He was given first aid by his colleagues until a Mater Dei ambulance and medical team arrived on site. He was then given CPR.

The firefighter was taken to hospital in a critical condition and lost his life soon after.

As tributes poured in, emergency physician Jonathan Joslin bid farewell to the father-of-two: "The nation thanks you for the selfless and noble service you gave to Malta throughout your professional life".

Michael Spiteri, also an emergency physician, said on social media there are many people who owe their lives to Zammit's work.

"Only God knows how many missions we responded to and we always kept the habit of whispering in each other's ears, promising that we would take care of each other. A real gentleman who even in very difficult circumstances would find a second to slip a subtle joke to release the tension.

"Who would have told us that today we had to respond for you? There are surely many people out there who are still alive thanks to your work."

In a statement on Facebook, the CPD described the official as an exemplary man who had given a service for many years.

An inquiry is being held.

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