WCBS 880 - April 11, 2019NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — There was a mix of emotions at the FDNY's promotions ceremony Wednesday morning in Brooklyn, just two days after a firefighter died while on active duty in Afghanistan.
FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro noted that he had been looking forward to this day for a while. He said promotions are a validation of dedication, hard work and leadership.
“And then, of course, this terrible news about Chris' death,” Nigro says.
He called fallen FDNY firefighter Chris Slutman the “bravest of the brave.”
“It amazes me sometimes that our members who put themselves in harm's way every day,” Nigro said. “That the people of our city, feel compelled to also serve our country in this way.”
The FDNY commissioner said there are almost 1,500 active military members and veterans in the department.
During the ceremony, five deputy chiefs were promoted to deputy assistant chief, 16 captains were promoted to battalion chief, 25 lieutenants were promoted to captain and 31 firefighters were promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
Chief of Department John Sudnik said during the ceremony that he wants all of them to keep something in mind.
“I encourage each of you to savor and celebrate this milestone in your careers, but do so while reflecting on Chris' sacrifice, and take tremendous pride that we are all so privileged to lead such high caliber people,” he told the FDNY members.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday ordered flags across the state to be flown at half-staff to honor Slutman and fellow Marine Robert Hendricks, 25, of Long Island.
Firefighters in the Bronx on Tuesday hung black and purple bunting for 43-year-old Slutman, who was a decorated FDNY firefighter.
Captain Steven Moore at Ladder 27 said Slutman was the type of person who wanted to go above and beyond.
"He was brave, conscientious, dependable and always rose to the occasion," Moore said.
Slutman earned a Fire Chiefs Association Memorial Medal in 2014 for crawling through flames to rescue an unconscious woman inside an apartment fire in the South Bronx.