BRIGANTINE — The sudden death of Brigantine Fire Chief James Holl left the shore community in mourning Sunday night.

Holl, 51, died unexpectedly Sunday, Mayor Phil Guenther said. Holl, a 27-year veteran of the department, saw the city’s firefighters through some of their toughest assignments before, during and after Hurricane Sandy, Guenther said.

Holl was very supportive and proud of his members and their heroic actions during the storm, Guenther said.

“The entire community mourns the loss of Chief Holl, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the members of the Fire Department who called him both chief and friend,” Guenther said Sunday evening.

Holl was the first Emergency Medical Technician to be employed by the department in 1979. He also worked as a paramedic at Underwood Memorial Hospital, a U.S. Air Force flight nurse, an emergency room nurse at Shore Memorial Hospital and as a forensic medical investigator at the Atlantic County Medical Examiner’s Office.

According to the department’s website, Holl worked with the Fire Prevention Bureau and served as a fire inspector and fire investigator. He is also one of the original members of the department’s Water Response Team, as a rapid deployment search and rescue scuba diver. Holl also served in the Brigantine Office of Emergency Management as deputy emergency management coordinator.

Holl held the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, 514th Air Mobility Wing, at McGuire Air Force Base. He retired in December after a 21-year career, Guenther said.

During his military career, Holl worked as a chief flight nurse instructor for the 714th and 514th Aeromedical Evacuation squadrons.

He was deployed to care for the injured after the Kobar Towers bombing during Operation Southern Watch in 1996, the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and served a five-month deployment to the Middle East in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Holl’s most recent deployment was in 2008 to Tunisia for a Joint Chiefs of Staff mission to provide and exchange medical skills, techniques and procedures between members of the U.S. Air Force and Army and Tunisian military health services.

He received many military awards.

Contact Donna Weaver: 609-226-9198, DWeaver@pressofac.com

Follow @DonnaKWeaver on Twitter

Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at PressofAC.com.