Andrew Scott Hoffman, 27, of Glen Burnie

Friends and family remembered Baltimore firefighter Andrew Scott Hoffman, 27, who died early Sunday as the victim in a suspected murder-suicide, as a hero dedicated to the fire department.

Fire Chief Jeffrey Segal issued a statement regarding Hoffman's death, noting he was a "third-generation member of the fire department" who had been with the city department since 2006.

"We offer sincere condolences to the Hoffman family as they grieve this terrible loss," Segal said.

Segal noted that this summer, Hoffman was credited with helping to reunite a 3-year-old toddler who had wandered from his home in Anne Arundel with his family.

Hoffman had discovered Paul Marshall Jr. along the streets of Linthicum at 3:45 a.m. on July 23. "It kind of startled me. " Hoffman told The Sun. "I got him and asked him, 'What's the matter, buddy? Where do you live?' And all he could do was point up the road."

Hoffman and police tracked down the youngster's house. The boy's father, Paul Marshall, later thanked Hoffman, saying, "This really scared us thinking everything that could have happened."

The firefighter's family said the incident was one of several heroic acts in Hoffman's short life. "It was no surprise to us that Andy stopped to help that little boy," his family's statement says. "Andy loved children and was a beloved uncle to his young niece and nephew."

Hoffman also was awarded the 2010 "Chief Thomas J. Burke Courage Medal" for courageous acts in the line of duty for rescuing a man from a fire at 205 S. Gilmor Street, according to his family.

The department's Fire Boat Station flew its flag at half-mast in mourning of Hoffman's death. The Hollins Street station, where Hoffman served, had black material draping the building front on Sunday afternoon.

"Andy Hoffman had one love and that was the Baltimore City Fire Department," said firefighters union president Rick Hoffman, who is not related but was close friends with him.

"I cannot speak highly enough about this young man," Rick Hoffman said. "He was the epitome of what I want to represent."

A couple of weeks ago, Andrew Hoffman brought his new girlfriend, Hartman, around to the union hall football tailgate to meet other firefighters, Rick Hoffman said.

He said Andrew Hoffman "went out a hero" and "did everything he could to keep this from happening."

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