FUNERAL FOR BRONX FIREFIGHTER Thousands to honor hero killed in Iraq

Newsday - December 07, 2004

by PETE BOWLES

Thousands of firefighters, including a large contingent from other departments around the country, are expected to line the streets of a Bronx neighborhood in ceremonies during the next few days for a colleague killed in Iraq last week.

Most of the 11,500 firefighters and officers of the city's Fire Department will participate in a full "line of duty" funeral Thursday for Christian Engeldrum, 39, a sergeant in the Army National Guard and firefighter from Ladder Co. 61 in the Bronx.

The requiem Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. at St. Benedict Roman Catholic Church at 2969 Otis Ave. in Schuylerville.

As firefighters stand at attention outside the church, a fire truck draped in purple and black will carry Engeldrum's coffin to the church. The services are expected to be projected outside through a speaker.

After the service, the department's Emerald Society Pipes and Drums will lead the caisson from the church under the sound of bagpipes as department personnel line up along the street.

A wake for Engeldrum will be from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. today and tomorrow at Schuyler Hill Funeral Home at 3535 E. Tremont Ave. Military burial services will be 3 p.m. Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.

Engeldrum, a former city police officer and five-year member of the Fire Department, was killed Nov. 29 when the vehicle he was riding in was destroyed by a roadside bomb outside of Baghdad. His body was flown home Thursday.

Among those planning to attend the funeral is wounded firefighter Daniel Swift, 24, of Ladder Co. 43 in Manhattan. Swift, who suffered shrapnel wounds to the leg and eye in the same blast, was transported to a military hospital in Texas over the weekend.

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