LANDOVER, Md. (WJZ/CNN) — A volunteer Maryland firefighter was one of the three US service members killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan Monday.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, of Newark, Delaware, was killed by an improvised explosive device near Bagram Air Base, along with two other marines, according to the US military. Three other US service members and a contractor were wounded. He was a volunteer firefighter in Prince George’s County.
The Kentland Volunteer Fire Department posted a message from their chief Tuesday.
“It is with deep regret that the Kentland Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD), Incorporated announces the tragic passing of Life Member Christopher Slutman (#7194). A nineteen-year member of the Department, Ladderman Slutman was mortally wounded while bravely serving his country in Afghanistan as a Staff Sergeant with the United States Marine Corps,” said KVFD Chief Oleg Pelekhaty in a statement on Facebook.
The Prince George’s Police Department posted a message of condolences on Twitter later Tuesday.
Pelekhaty said Slutman joined the company in February 2000 and served the Landover area as a wagon driver and captain.
He was also a 15-year member of the Fire Department of New York City, serving the Bronx. He was awarded for a heroic rescue in 2014 when he ran into a burning home to save an unconscious woman.
“Through this trying time, we will remember Chris for the father, husband, brother, son, and friend that he was, the moral character he displayed daily, and the courage and conviction to serve his fellow Americans, both at home and abroad,” Pelekhaty said.
Slutman leaves behind his wife Shannon and three daughters — McKenna, Kenley and Weslynn.
CBS3 spoke with Slutman’s parents Tuesday:
“When I turned the porch light on and opened the door, and I saw in uniform, I said, ‘This is not good.’ He said, ‘Can we come in?’ I said, ‘Yes,’ came and sat at the table. He said, ‘Do you want to get your wife?’ And I really didn’t want to until I learned more. I shook my head no and he shook his head yes. So, I called my wife in and then we went through everything and he explained everything,” said Fletcher Slutman.
A statement from the military said the wounded service members have been evacuated and are receiving medical care. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack, which involved a car bomb targeting a US military convoy near one of America’s largest military facilities in Afghanistan.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation will soon announce a plan to pay off the family’s mortgage at his firehouse in the Bronx.
On Tuesday the Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the three killed US service members were US Marines.
“We feel and mourn the loss of these Americans with their families and loved ones. They volunteered to protect their country. We will continue our mission,” Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The US military initially said that a contractor was also killed in the attack however on Tuesday it issued a statement saying that the contractor, an Afghan citizen, was wounded in the incident and treated on the scene along with injured Afghan civilians.
Seven US service members have been killed in Afghanistan this year.
The US has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, where they primarily advise Afghan forces battling the Taliban and the local ISIS affiliate.
While US officials have said that peace talks with the Taliban have made progress, they have yet to finalize any agreements and intense fighting between the government and the insurgency continues.
The US envoy to the peace talks, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, left Afghanistan on Sunday following meetings with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani.
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation will pay off the family’s mortgage.
“This man was a super hero, a member of the military and a first responder. He risked his own life to save lives in New York and put himself in harm’s way to serve his country in Afghanistan,” said Frank Siller, Chairman and CEO of Tunnel to Towers. “I am calling on all Americans, and New Yorkers in particular, to step up and support this family. Lift the financial burden of a mortgage so they can be secure in the knowledge that their home is theirs forever.”
The other marines killed were 31-year-old Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines of York, Pa. and 25-year-old Cpl. Robert A. Hendricks of Locust Valley, New York
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