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Mayor Backs Plan to Hike Death Pay for FDNY Member Killed in Iraq
By Eyewitness News' Jeff Pegues
(New York -WABC, December 2, 2004) — Firefighter and FDNY Sergeant Christian Engeldrum died in Iraq, killed by a car bomb near Baghdad earlier this week. Now, Mayor Bloomberg is championing a bill to allow Engeldrum to be classified as "killed in the line of duty" as if he were fighting a fire. Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Pegues has the story.

Today the push to grant full line of duty benefits to the family of Chris Engeldrum picked up momentum, beginning with statements by the mayor who called the fallen firefighter turned national guardsman a hero.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, (R) New York City: "He paid the ultimate price... he certainly deserves it."

Mayor Bloomberg doesn't expect any roadblocks in getting others down at city hall to buy into the idea. After all many are now well aware of the commitment Engeldrum made to the city and its citizens, first as a police officer then as a firefighter who helped save lives on September 11th.

He died serving his country in Iraq. The courageous national guardsman was killed on Monday in a terrorist attack in the war zone. The Uniformed Firefighter's Association believes he has earned full line of duty benefits, even though he died overseas.

The death benefits will come at a time when Chris Engeldrum's widow is pregnant. Sources confirm that as Sharon Engeldrum mourns the loss of her husband, she is 3 months pregnant with the couple's third child.

City Council Speaker Gifford Miller tells me he hopes full line of duty benefits conveys to Chris Engeldrum's growing family the feelings of a grateful city.

Gifford Miller: "Hopefully it's a small gesture that will be meaningful in life of that little child."

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