CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts told the story of Sgt. Christian P. Engeldrum, 39, is the first FDNY firefighter to die in Iraq since the U.S.-led war began, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. Engeldrum was killed Monday when his vehicle came under attack outside Baghdad.
"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," Bloomberg said in a statement.
Pitts spoke with one of Engeldrum's fellow firefighters.
"It's a shame, but that's what we do. [Lay to rest friends] and family. This is family," said Firefighter Paul Allen. "He was a brother."
Another New York firefighter, Daniel J. Swift, 24, was riding in the same vehicle and suffered shrapnel wounds, Bloomberg said. Swift was in Germany for treatment and was expected to recover.
Both Engeldrum and Swift spent months digging through the rubble of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Engeldrum was a five-year fire veteran who previously served as a police officer. He was on active duty in the Army from 1986 to 1991.
"He was a hundred percent soldier. He loved his country; he loved what it stood for. He loved being a fireman," fire Lt. Brian Horton said at the Bronx firehouse where Engeldrum served. "He was a lucky man: he got to do what he loved."
"Chris was like the core of this house, and everybody looked up to Chris," said fellow firefighter Mark Klinger. "He was a great person, great fireman, excellent father, and a best friend."
Engeldrum is survived by a wife and two sons.
Engeldrum was one of 135 U.S. service members killed in the month of November, which matches April of this year for the deadliest month since fighting began in March 2003.