Friends and colleagues have been paying tribute to a Black Country firefighter who died while on duty.

Father-of-two Brian Dean suffered a suspected heart attack on Wednesday night following an emergency call-out.

Colleagues from Blue Watch, at Bloxwich Fire Station, fought to save the 49-year-old’s life with a defibrillator on board the fire engine, but he later died at Walsall Manor Hospital.

The crew had just attended an incident involving an overturned car in Glastonbury Crescent, Bloxwich.

Mr Dean’s wife, Julie, was being comforted by the fire service’s family liaison team, friends and relatives at the family home in Willenhall’s Magness Crescent.

Willenhall watch commander Keith Tilley paid tribute Mr Dean, describing him as a popular, leading member of the watch.

“Brian was very much loved by everyone,” he said. “He was really friendly and was always up for a joke – a very happy sort of fellow.

“He was a bit of an environmentalist and was always telling people to turn lights off and to save paper.

“But he was kingpin on the watch and everyone listened to what he had to say. He was a leader and carried out an instructor’s role and was a first aider, so he was all about helping other people.

“He will be sadly missed by us all.”

Randeep Matharu, a 19-year-old neighbour, described Mr Dean as a close friend he’d known all his life.

He said: “He’d do anything for friends and was always the first to offer a helping hand. He loved his job and took great pride in it.

“My whole family knew him - we were real friends. We’re quite a close set of neighbours in this street and he was very much liked in that respect.”

Acting chief fire officer Vij Randeniya also paid his tribute to Mr Dean. He said: “This sad loss has shocked us all.

“The fire service is like an extended family and our hearts and prayers go to his wife, family and loved ones as well as to his friends and colleagues.”

Black Country coroner Robin Balmain has been notified of the tragedy.

Police were also called out to reports of the overturned Citroen at just after 9pm. There were no reports of anybody being injured or inside the vehicle. A West Midlands Police spokesman said the incident was being treated as an act of vandalism.