America’s bravest: Ladder Co. 27’s Christopher Slutman killed in Afghanistan

Lieutenant Jack Meara (c) spoke to the press about his experience serving with Slutman.
Photo by Fernando Justiniano

One of New York and even America’s ‘Bravest’ was tragically taken from us while serving overseas on Monday, April 10.

Christopher Slutman, a 15-year FDNY member and United States Marine Corps Staff Sergeant was among the three Marines killed by a Talliban bombing near Bagrim Airfield in Afghanistan.

Stateside, the 43-year old Slutman was stationed out of Ladder 27, which sits just beneath the Cross Bronx Expressway in Claremont.

Ladder 27 shares its command post with Engine Company 46, where FDNY Lieutenant Jack Meara reflected on what it was like to be around Slutman during an operation.

“He was the type of fireman everyone wanted to have in their firehouse,” Meara said. “Chris always did the right thing, Chris always stepped up to the plate, Chris was always there when you needed him,” the Lieutenant continued, sharings some of Slutman’s contributions to the other members of the house.

Slutman (3rd from l) recieves his Fire Chiefs Association Memorial Medal in 2014.
Courtesy of FDNY

One of Slutman’s most notable acts of stepping up to the plate came in the very early hours of Tuesday, July 23, 2013 when he successfully rescued a woman who was trapped inside her bedroom in a 7th floor unit at 320 Morris Avenue in Mott Haven.

“Something is burning on the seventh floor,” was the only heads up he received prior to valiantly crawling beneath thick black smoke and flames to make the incredible rescue.

Slutman was awarded the Fire Chiefs Association Memorial Medal the following year on behalf of his brevity.

Since Slutman was a child in Delaware, he had dreamed of being a firefighter, following in the footsteps of his own father, Fletcher Slutman.

Later in life, Christopher become a father and hero to three girls that he had raised with his wife Shannon.

Ladder Company 27’s Christopher A. Slutman was a 15-year-old FDNY veteran.
Photo courtesy of FDNY

Upon the news of Slutman’s ultimate sacrifice, the Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation pledged to raise the necessary funds to pay off his family’s home mortgage.

“He was a hero before he went to serve his country and he’s a hero now,” said the foundation’s CEO Frank Siller inside Slutman’s Bronx firehouse, which is now draped in black and purple bunting.

Siller made note of the 73 FDNY members currently on active military duty worldwide.

“These things happen far to often,” he said.

Slutman was the second Bronx firefighter to be killed overseas since 2004 when Army Staff Sergeant Christian Engledrum of Throggs Neck sacrificed his own life in the line of service.

Christopher Slutman catches his breath during one of the many Ladder Co. 27 life-saving FDNY operations he was part of.
Photo courtesy of FDNY

Engledrum’s aunt, Cathy Praino, somberly reflected on the news of Slutman’s passing as well.

“He was an exceptional one, just like my nephew,” she said mentioning that she prayed and held a moment of silence after hearing the sad news.

Even Mayor de Blasio called Slutman an American Hero just hours after his death was announced.

In that same amount of time, the FDNY established a scholarship fund for Slutman’s three daughters.

To donate to the scholarship fund visit and to help fund the paydown of Slutman’s family’s mortgage, visit

The exterior of Engine 46, Ladder 27 Command Station.
Schneps Media/Alex Mitchell

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