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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A Navy veteran and long-time fire official passed away early this morning while on duty at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB)-based Naval District Washington (NDW) Fire and Emergency Services Central Battalion.

NDW Fire and Emergency Services Battalion Chief John McDonald, 54, began his firefighting career in 1974, while still a teenager, as a volunteer with the Stafford Volunteer Fire Department in Stafford, Virginia.

Upon learning of the loss, JBAB Commander Navy Capt. Frank Mays said, "Our sincere condolences go out to Chief McDonald's family, friends and co-workers. He was a valuable asset at JBAB and served as an extremely competent incident commander for many of the emergencies here and on other nearby naval installations. His loss is sad and will certainly impact all of us. We will not soon forget his long and dedicated service and fellowship."

A memorial service with full fire department honors is currently being planned, but additional details are not yet available.

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