BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County Firefighter Mark Schmidt, a 17-year veteran of the department, died Sunday after battling cancer the past few years, Fire Chief Aaron Duncan said in a news release. He was 61.

Schmidt last worked at Station 23 in Fellows. All Kern County Fire Department flags will be flown at half-staff until Schmidt is buried.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time,” Duncan said in the release.