FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2005
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND FIRE COMMISSIONER SCOPPETTA HONOR FIRE DEPARTMENT MEMBERS WHO HAVE DIED IN THE LINE OF DUTY AT THE FIREFIGHTERS MEMORIAL MONUMENT
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today honored Lieutenants Curtis W. Meyran and John G. Bellew and Firefighters Richard T. Sclafani and Christian P. Engeldrum at a ceremony at the Firefighters Memorial Monument located at Riverside Park in Manhattan. All four members of the Fire Department were killed in the line of duty within the last 12 months. Firefighter Engledrum was a 5 ½ -year veteran of the FDNY and was killed outside of Baghdad, Iraq while serving as a Sergeant in the New York Army National Guard. Mayor Bloomberg and Fire Commissioner Scoppetta presented family members of each fallen firefighter with a Fire Department flag and Fire Department Medal of Valor. A Medal of Supreme Sacrifice from the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and Uniformed Firefighters Association was also presented to each family.
"Today we honor members of New York's Bravest who gave their lives in the line of duty," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We pay tribute to Firefighter Richard Sclafani and Lieutenants Curtis Meyran and John Bellew who bravely gave their lives fighting two separate fires on the same day, and Firefighter Christian Engeldrum who laid down his life for our freedoms while fighting in Iraq. These brave men join over a thousand other members of the FDNY who have made the supreme sacrifice protecting the lives of others. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I want to thank all members of the FDNY for the courage and dedication they exhibit each and every day."
"The strength of this Fire Department lies in its traditions - the most significant being the honor and remembrance of members who gave their lives in service to this Department and this City," said Fire Commissioner Scoppetta. "Today, we honor their sacrifice not just in ceremony, but also through our actions. Through every life that is saved and every fire extinguished, we honor these men and their courage."
On January 23, 2005, Lieutenant Curtis W. Meyran of Battalion 26 and Firefighter John G. Bellew (posthumously promoted to Lieutenant) of Ladder Company 27 were killed when they and four other firefighters were forced to jump from a fourth story apartment building window after responding to a third-alarm fire at 236 East 178th Street in the East Tremont section of the Bronx. Lieutenants Meyran and Bellew and four other firefighters from Ladder 27 and Rescue 3 were searching the fourth floor of the fire building for occupants that were reported to be trapped above the fire. The fire and extreme heat rapidly intensified, trapping them and subsequently forcing all six members to jump from the fourth floor window to the ground below. Lieutenants Meyran and Bellew were both transported to St. Barnabas Hospital where a short time later, they succumbed to their injuries.
Lieutenant Meyran, 46, was a 15-year veteran of the Fire Department. He was a graduate of Valley Stream North High School and a talented, successful carpenter. During his career with the Fire Department Lieutenant Meyran was twice cited for bravery, in 1991 while working at Ladder 161 in Brooklyn, and in 1997 while assigned to Ladder 123 also in Brooklyn. A resident of Malverne, Long Island, Lieutenant Meyran is survived by his wife, Jeanette, and their three children: Dennis, 16, Angela, 10 and Danine, 6.
Lieutenant Bellew, 37, was a 10-year veteran of the Fire Department. During his career he worked at Ladder 10 and Engine Company 23, both in Manhattan. He attended Marist College and Manhattan College. Lieutenant Bellew was appointed to the Fire Department in 1994. A resident of Pearl River in upstate Rockland County, New York, Firefighter Bellew is survived by his wife, Eileen, and their four children; Brielle, Jack, Katreana, and Kieran.
On January 23, 2005, Firefighter Richard T. Sclafani of Ladder Company 103 was killed after responding to a second-alarm fire at 577 Jerome Street in Brooklyn. Firefighter Sclafani and members of Ladder 103 were among the first firefighters to arrive on the scene of the fire, which was reported in the basement of a two-story private home. They immediately began searching both for the location of the fire and any trapped occupants. During these search operations, Firefighter Sclafani became separated from his company. He was found minutes later unconscious and in respiratory arrest on the cellar staircase. He was transported to Brookdale Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Firefighter Sclafani, 37, was a 10-year veteran of the Fire Department. He was appointed in October 1994 and was assigned to Ladder 103 in East New York, Brooklyn. During his career he also worked in Squad Company 18 in Manhattan. Firefighter Sclafani, a resident of Bayside, Queens is survived by his mother, Joan and his sister, Joanne.
On November 29, 2004, Firefighter Christian P. Engeldrum, 39, of Ladder Company 61 in the Bronx was killed outside of Baghdad, Iraq while serving as a Sergeant in the New York Army National Guard's Fighting 69th. Firefighter Engeldrum sustained fatal injuries when the vehicle he was riding in was ambushed in a roadside bombing. He was a 5 ½ year veteran of the Fire Department. On December 7, 2004, at the request of Mayor Bloomberg, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed legislation classifying the death of Firefighter Christian Philip Engeldrum as occurring in the line of duty.
Firefighter Engeldrum began his career with the City of New York as a Police Officer assigned to the 47th Precinct. After successfully completing the Fire Academy in 1999, he was assigned to Engine Company 89 in the Bronx. Firefighter Engeldrum also served in Engine Company 58 in Manhattan and was most recently assigned to Ladder Company 61 in the Bronx. In July 2000, he received an FDNY unit citation as a result of his company's successful rescue of two civilians at a fire in a Harlem apartment building.
Before joining the FDNY, Firefighter Engeldrum served on active military duty from 1986 to 1991 including a tour in Operation Desert Storm. While in the Army, he received a number of accolades from the military including the Southwest Asia Service Medal with Bronze Service, Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Army Lapel Button, Sharpshooter Badge, Parachutist Badge, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and NCO Professional Development Ribbon.
Born in the Bronx, Firefighter Engeldrum is survived by his wife Sharon, sons Royce and Sean, infant daughter Kristian, and parents Philip and Lenora Engeldrum. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on December 10, 2004.
The Firefighters Memorial Monument was built in 1912 and is located in Riverside Park at Riverside Drive and 100th Street in Manhattan. It is the largest monument to a single group outside the military in New York City. Inscribed on the monument are the words: "To the men of the Fire Department of the City of New York who died at the call of duty, soldiers in a war that never ends. This memorial is dedicated by the people of a grateful City."
The Fire Department Medal of Valor was first issued by the FDNY in 1911 and is engraved with the City seal. Shortly after World War II, the Department began issuing this medal to the next of kin of members who had died in the line of duty. Since 1960, the medal has been awarded posthumously and exclusively for line of duty death. The UFOA/UFA Medal of Supreme Sacrifice was first awarded in 1946 and is engraved with the figure of a firefighter carrying a child from a burning building. Since that time, this medal has been given to the next of kin to honor posthumously those Fire Department members who were killed in the line of duty.
Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Francix X. Gribbon (FDNY)