THE Kingscliff community is in mourning after the death of firefighter Andrew 'Packy' Turnbull.
The 35-year-old local character collapsed and died while fighting a grassfire at Fingal on Friday night.
Fellow firefighters rushed to his aid and administered CPR, without success.
It is believed Mr Turnbull, son of well-known Kingscliff milkman Cliff Turnbull, suffered a heart attack.
Known as Packy to most, Mr Turnbull had been with the Kingscliff Fire Brigade as a professional firefighter for seven years, station commander Brett Gray said.
“To be honest everyone's really struggling with it,” he said.
“It's a great loss.”
NSW Fire Brigade Commissioner Greg Mullins paid tribute to Mr Turnbull.
“Firefighters are men and women who are dedicated to saving life and property - it hits all of us hard when one of our own dies or is injured,” he said in a statement.
“I extend my deepest sympathy, personally and on behalf of the NSW Fire Brigades to his family, friends and colleagues.”
NSW Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan said Mr Turnbull was known and admired in the local community.
“Firefighters are very special people and it is tragic to lose someone so dedicated to helping others,” he said.
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