SEALY, Texas - Family, friends and first responders paid tribute Monday to Eric Zapalac, Sealy’s fire chief, who died last week of a massive heart attack.

He was 39.

An American flag was raised between two fire trucks to honor Zapalac Monday. Firefighters from across the Houston area attended his funeral at the West Campus of Second Baptist Church.

Zapalac was a lifelong resident of Sealy and graduated from Sealy High School in 1996. He joined the Sealy Fire Department that same year where he served Sealy and Austin counties for 21 years. He also joined the Houston Fire Department in 2001 where he served as an engineer operator assigned to Hazmat Unit 2 at Houston Fire Department Station 22.

Zapalac is survived by his wife, Kelly, and their three children. She released the following statement Monday:

“On Monday, November 20, 2017, my loving husband went to be with the Lord. After numerous attempts they were unable to save him, he had suffered a massive heart attack. He will be greatly missed by me, our kids, family, friends, his brothers and sisters of the department, and our community. The kids and I would like to thank SFD, HFD, ACEMS, and SPD for everything they did for Eric and are still doing for us and the family in our time of need. Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers.”