An East Greenwich firefighter died late Friday after he had a heart attack on his way to a fire call that turned out to be a false alarm.

Walter C. Fagan Jr., 48, of the Gloucester County township's Mount Royal section, was riding in the back of a fire truck when he suffered the attack shortly after firefighters were dispatched at 11:57 p.m.

Fagan was treated by emergency medical personnel who were responding to the same report of fire at a house being built in the Mickleton section. He was taken to Underwood-Memorial Hospital in Woodbury, where he was pronounced dead.

Fagan had been a volunteer firefighter with the Mount Royal station in the East Greenwich Township Fire Department for seven years. He served as a trustee, helping with the administration of the station. He was a self-employed contractor who often helped fix things at the station, said Nelson Wiest, the department's chief.

"If you needed something, Walt was one of those guys who would drop what he was doing to help," Wiest said. "This is a big loss to the department, and we're going to have to go through a healing process."

Fagan is survived by his wife, Donna L. Fagan; sons Nicholas, David, Christopher and Andrew John Fagan; stepchildren Stephanie and William Blemings Jr.; his father, Walter C. Sr.; a sister; and three grandchildren.

Friends may call from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday and 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday at the McBride-Foley Funeral Home, 228 W. Broad St., Paulsboro, where a firefighter's funeral will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday. Burial will be in Eglington Cemetery, Clarksboro.

Memorial donations may be sent to the American Diabetes Association, Box 11454, Alexandria, Va. 22312.