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The village of Forest Park starts the new year with the crushing news of firefighter John Van Petten’s death.

Local 2753 announced on its Facebook page that he died early on Jan. 1.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the unexpected death of our beloved brother,” wrote Local 2753 on the union’s Facebook page.

According to the announcement, Van Petten served as a firefighter in the village for over 18 years and was vice president of the union board.

“He always brought a great sense of joy and laughter to the people around him, and never missed a chance at being the grand master of our St. Patrick’s Day parade on Madison Street,” said the union.

John is survived by his mother Mary Ann Van Petten, brothers Tom Van Petten, Jim Van Petten, sister Megan Van Petten, and four children Bridget, Grace, Margaret, and John Van Petten.