Bronx Firefighter Killed by Taliban Roadside Bomb in Afghanistan

CBS 2 - April 10, 2019

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBS News) — A veteran FDNY firefighter was one of three Americans killed when a bomb when off Monday near a military base in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes learned more about the life and career of Christopher Slutman, a decorated fireman and a loving father.

They knocked. I went and turned the porch light on. I opened the door and saw the uniform. I said, ‘This is not good,'” the fallen firefighter’s father, Fletcher Slutman, told CBS2 by phone.

Christopher Slutman, 43, truly lived a life of service. He was a longtime veteran of the FDNY and a 19-year veteran of Kentland Volunteer Fire Department in Maryland, not to mention a staff sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps.

It was there, serving our country in the military in Afghanistan, where he made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Taliban tweeted a picture which it claims shows the moment after a roadside bomb went off.

Christopher Slutman was killed, along with two other U.S. service members.

A U.S. officials said a convoy of American vehicles was overtaking a car, which pulled over to the side of the road, apparently to let them pass. But when the convoy drew even with the car, it detonated.

Back here at home, a somber ceremony was held outside Ladder 27 in the Bronx on Tuesday afternoon. Black and purple bunting was hung outside the firehouse where Christopher Slutman served as part of his decorated 15 years with the FDNY.

Members of Ladder 17, where he previously worked, also came to pay their respects.

Mayor Bill de Blasio held a moment of silence Tuesday morning to remember Slutman.

“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,” de Blasio said.

Christopher Slutman was awarded the Fire Chief Association Memorial Medal for saving a woman’s life in a horrible fire in the Bronx back in 2013.

“He was good. He was always positive. He was always doing things for people, so you felt good if he were around. And if you were having a problem he could help you,” Fletcher Slutman said.

The FDNY traveled to Christopher Slutman’s home in Delaware to help support his wife and three young children.

“It affects, I think, everybody, everybody once you lose somebody, especially when you kind of knew them, in your neighborhood. So yeah, it’s very very saddening,” neighbor Alex Montag said.

“Together, all firefighters grieve the loss of our brother, Christopher, who dedicated his life to protecting the people of this city, and our nation,” said Gerard Fitzgerald, president of the FDNY-UFA Firefighters Association.

The U.S. and NATO Resolute Support mission said the three Americans were killed near the Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, while four others were wounded in the explosion. The base in Bagram district is located in northern Parwan province and serves as the main U.S. air facility in the country.

The wounded were evacuated and are receiving medical care, the statement said. It added that in accordance with U.S. Department of Defense policy, the names of service members killed in action were being withheld until after the notification of next of kin.