to a life of service to his city and to his country, Throggs Neck
resident and Bronx firefighter Christian Engeldrum was killed while
serving in the Army in Iraq on Monday, November 29.
well-liked cop turned firefighter who served at two local firehouses—first
on Bruckner Boulevard and then in Co-op City—the 39-year-old
father of two was a member of the responding rescue teams following
the 9-11 terrorists attacks and helped raise the first American
flag from the rubble at Ground Zero.
sergeant with the 105th Infantry, Engeldrum was an active member
of the U.S. Army from 1986 to 1991, and fought in Operation Desert
Storm for which he received numerous commendations for his service.
He then served in the National Guard, and re-upped for active duty,
returning to Iraq this past September.
Edgewater Park resident was reportedly killed during a roadside
bombing en route to Baghdad. During the ambush, 16 U.S. soldiers
were injured, including another city firefighter, Daniel Swift of
Manhattan’s Ladder 43, and two other soldiers were killed.
immediate and extended family–well-known throughout Throggs
Neck and the Bronx from their ownership of a gas station and the
community activism of Christian’s uncle, Donald–were
devastated by the news of his death.
was the first New York City municipal employee killed in the ongoing
war in Iraq, and the second Bronx resident to lose his life in the
Michael Bloomberg mourned Engeldrum’s passing. "Christian
Engeldrum spent his life protecting the people of this city and
protecting democracy," Bloomberg said. "As a firefighter,
a police officer, and a decorated member of our military, there
was no risk he wasn’t willing to take for his fellow New Yorkers
and his fellow Americans. Christian honored us with his life and
commitment to public service. I join all New Yorkers in mourning
his loss and pray that his family finds comfort in the innumerable
ways he touched so many lives."
joining the FDNY in 1999, Engeldrum served as a police officer in
the borough’s 47th Precinct. He then worked at Engine 89/Ladder
50 in Throggs Neck and most recently at Engine 66/Ladder 61 in Co-op
City. He also had served at Engine Company 58 in Manhattan.
week, his FDNY colleagues remembered him as a brave firefighter,
a great friend and a dedicated family man.
Brian Horn said Engeldrum was a patriot who could not be talked
out of volunteering to fight overseas again. "He loved his
country and all that it stands for," Horn said. "He was
a lifetime soldier, and it didn’t make a difference to him
that he had already served in a war."
of his FDNY compatriots were on hand at the firehouse of Engine
66/Ladder 61 on Tuesday to hang a banner in his memory. Engeldrum’s
photo and some candles were placed in front of an American flag
signed by U.S troops serving in Iraq that had been sent to Engeldrum’s
the firehouse, his comrades set up a small memorial to Engeldrum,
hanging his helmet and firecoat high on the back wall of the Asch
Loop firehouse. Although many firefighters choked back tears, two
of his closest friends, firefighters Michael Schiraldi and Mark
Klinger, agreed that Engeldrum would have considered himself lucky
to work at something he loved for so long. "He gave 200% to
everything he did and lived life to the fullest," Schiraldi
said. "That’s why he was over there."
said that the fire department is built around brave, dedicated men
like Engeldrum. "He was the kind of guy you wanted to work
with. I always felt safer when he was around," Klinger said
of his longtime friend, who he last worked an FDNY tour with this
past June. "He was the center of attention. He was everything
in this house."
of the firehouse said that they were shocked by the news and looked
to take care of Engeldrum’s wife Sharon and two sons, aged
16 and 18, during this terrible time.
Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta extended his condolences to Engeldrum’s
family. "His commitment to serving his country sets the example
for all of us. He will be greatly missed by this department and
by all who had the honor of knowing him."
noted that Engeldrum received a unit citation as a result of his
company’s successful rescue of two civilians from a fire.
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