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The City of Minnetonka is mourning the sudden and unexpected death of longtime assistant fire chief Jim Flanders. 

Flanders, 59, was found unresponsive at his home on Saturday, the city announced, noting that his colleagues from Minnetonka fire and police departments "immediately began performing lifesaving measures," but he died after being taken to a hospital. 

Jim Flanders

"My heart is broken for Jim’s family and our fire family. Losing one of our brothers is devastating," said Minnetonka Fire Chief John Vance. "He was always at his post helping our community prepare for and deal with emergencies."

Flanders, who also served as the city's assistant chief of emergency medical services and emergency management, was the recipient of the 2021 Spirit of Minnetonka award, which is given annually to city's employee of the year. 

“Jim was an indispensable resource for our community and also known by our residents,” said Minnetonka City Manager Mike Funk. “Just a few days ago, he was the one passing along warnings as severe storms approached Minnetonka. He also continued to track COVID-19 and coordinated the area’s response to the pandemic.”

A cause of death has not been announced. 

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