Buffalo, New York Firefighter, Reservist Killed in Iraq

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Flags flew at half-staff above fire stations Tuesday in honor of a firefighter and decorated Army reservist who was killed while training security forces in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Dill, 32, who was assigned to the Rochester-based 98th Division, was fatally shot Monday during an attack on his unit, a spokesman for the 98th said.

''Here's Chris, who not only fought for his country as a soldier, but he fought for his community as a Buffalo firefighter,'' said Fire Commissioner Michael D'Orazio, who ordered the flags lowered.

''Our family is pretty proud,'' said Dill's father, William Dill, himself an Air Force veteran and retired firefighter.

Dill joined the Reserves after serving in Desert Storm with the 24th Infantry. A drill sergeant, he was mobilized with the 98th Division in October.

''He was a kid that loved what he was doing,'' William Dill said Tuesday from his Tonawanda home.

Christopher Dill received the Bronze Star for valor late last year following a mission in Fallujah with some of the Iraqi troops he had trained, his father said.

Of the 150 troops, only 50 had shown up for the mission, Dill had told his father. But since the Iraqi elections, he had noticed a change in the Iraqis, one he hoped would speed his return home.

''Our Iraqis are pretty much squared away. Much of the chaos is gone and they are running somewhat of a professional unit,'' Dill wrote in an e-mail to his father March 25.

''His mission was to get them prepared. He saw some light at the end of the tunnel,'' the father said.

Besides his father, Dill is survived by his wife of five years, Dawn, and his mother and two sisters. Funeral arrangements were incomplete Tuesday. Family members said a combined firefighter and military funeral was likely.

''We're very sad here today because we, too, are a family,'' D'Orazio said. ''He's one of our own.''


Funeral Information:

The Buffalo Fire Department and the Buffalo Firefighters Union Local 282 have announced funeral arrangements for Christopher W. Dill, City of Buffalo Firefighter and Sergeant