USA Today - April 10, 2019
Christopher Slutman, a 15-year FDNY member, was among three American service members killed by a roadside bomb on Monday. (April 9) AP
A U.S. Marine killed in Afghanistan on Monday was also a decorated New York City firefighter and father of three, officials said.
Christopher Slutman and his fellow troops were struck by a roadside bomb during a convoy Monday. The names of the other service members killed in the attack have not yet been released.
The Taliban has since taken credit for the explosion that also wounded three other U.S. service members and an Afghan contractor who were evacuated and are receiving medical treatment.
Slutman, 43, is survived by his wife and their three daughters, officials said. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Slutman had a long career as a firefighter, as a volunteer with the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department in Landover, Maryland, and as a 15-year member of the New York City Fire Department Ladder 27 in the Bronx.
A Facebook post by the Kentland department's fire chief, Oleg Pelekhaty, detailed Slutman's rise in the volunteer fire company as well as his dedication as a family man.
"Through this trying time, we will remember Chris for the father, husband, brother, son, and friend that he was, the moral character he displayed daily, and the courage and conviction to serve his fellow Americans, both at home and abroad," the post stated.
"We ask for your thoughts and prayers for his firehouse brothers, his fellow Marines, his friends – but most of all, his family."
Slutman grew up in Maryland, where his father, Fletcher Slutman, had worked as a firefighter. He wanted to follow in his dad's footsteps, and went to New York to do it, commuting there and keeping a place in the state while his family stayed in Delaware, his father said.
"He always wanted to be a New York City firefighter," Fletcher Slutman said today.
It was Chris Slutman's work in the Bronx where, in 2014, he won the Fire Chiefs Association Memorial Medal for rescuing an unconscious woman from the seventh floor of a high-rise apartment building, according to the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York.
Slutman and fellow firefighters “forced open the door to the fire apartment and were met with a high heat condition and dense, black smoke, from floor to ceiling,” the department said when his medal was awarded. They crawled along the apartment floor, and Slutman found the woman in a bedroom. He and another firefighter “dragged the woman past the fire” to emergency medical workers.
Slutman saved the woman “at peril to himself,” a battalion chief wrote in endorsing his honor.
Slutman was the fourth FDNY member to die while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2003, the city said.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio commended the "fallen hero" before a press conference Tuesday regarding the city's measles outbreak, and remembered presenting the medal to Slutman in 2014.
"This, unquestionably, is an example of the measure of this man, Christopher Slutman, an American hero, a New York hero, and we mourn his loss today."
“Firefighter Slutman bravely wore two uniforms and committed his life to public service both as a New York City firefighter and as a member of the United States Marine Corps,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a written statement.
“Christopher was a distinguished firefighter who had a profound impact on both of his firehouses, Ladder Companies 27 and 17,” wrote Gerard Fitzgerald, president of the FDNY-UFA Firefighters Association. “Together, all firefighters grieve the loss of our brother, Christopher, who dedicated his life to protecting the people of this city and our nation.”
De Blasio ordered flags across New York City be flown at half-mast in a tribute to Slutman.
Contributing: Matt Spillane, The Rockland/Westchester Journal News, Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY and The Associated Press