BALDWIN - The Baldwin Fire Department is mourning the loss of a 21-year veteran firefighter who suddenly collapsed while responding to a call this morning.

Michael Esposito, 43, a former captain of the department, was one of 120 firefighters responding to a house fire on Grand Avenue just before 4 a.m.

Officials say on the way to the scene, Esposito started complaining of chest pains. Before he could even take part in fighting the fire, Esposito was rushed to South Nassau Communities Hospital, where he died of an apparent heart attack.

Those who knew Esposito best say he'll be most remembered for his dedication and loyalty both in and outside of the firehouse.

Officials have not said if the fire appears suspicious, but the arson squad is investigating its cause. The fire left a family of seven homeless.