O'FALLON, Mo. — Mel Emge, battalion chief of the O’Fallon Fire Protection District, has passed away.

The department made the announcement on Facebook late Thursday night.

"It is with profound sadness that the O’Fallon Fire Protection District announces the passing of Battalion Chief Mel Emge. Please keep the Emge family in your thoughts and prayers. We thank you Mel for your many years of dedicated service to our community. God speed to our brother."

The O'Fallon Police Department also posted about Emge's passing on Facebook.

"The O’Fallon Police Department mourns the passing of O’Fallon Fire Battalion Chief, Mel Emge. Mel will always be remembered for his caring and good-hearted nature, and for his sincere care of fellow first responders. Our thoughts are with his family and his crew.

Mel, we will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters at the fire department, as you continue to watch over us."

Emge served with the department for 44 years. He started as a volunteer firefighter in 1976 and was later promoted to career firefighter in 1997. 

Two years later in 1999, he was promoted to captain before making battalion chief in 2001.

The fire department said information on his funeral arrangements will be posted to its website and Facebook page.

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