Updated: 12-01-2004 04:46:57 PM

Long Island Firefighter Dies in Iraq


RUSSELL J. DINNAGE
Firehouse.Com News

Long Island, NY -- Army Specialist Wilfredo "Will" Urbina, 29, of Baldwin, NY was killed in Iraq, Nov. 29 when a bomb exploded near his Humvee in Baghdad, according to a story in The New York Newsday.

Urbina was a firefighter with the Balwin Fire Department in Nassau County, Long Island.

Urbina was killed in the same incident that took the life of Sgt. Christian Engledrum, 39, and injured serviceman Daniel Swift, both of the FDNY. Swift is currently receiving treatment for shrapnel wounds in Germany, according to Newsday.

Urbina joined the U.S. Air force in 1994 after graduating from Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, according to Baldwin FD Captain Jerry Brown.

When his tour of duty ended in 1998 he returned to New York City and joined the Baldwin Fire Department in August as an active firefighter. During this time he remained active in New York Army National Guard reserves.

After September 11, 2001, Urbina became a full time member of the National Guard and assisted with the recovery efforts at Ground Zero in Manhattan.

"Nine-eleven was the real motivating factor for him to join the National Guard full time," said Captain Ed Colon of Baldwin FD. "Up until that point he had been working on getting a bachelor's degree, but dropped all of it to assist with the clean-up."

Urbina's unit was activated this past May and he spent four months training for duty in Texas, Germany, and Puerto Rico, according to Colon. He left for Iraq in October.

"Before he left he told me that he was going to serve in Iraq for 18 months with the possibility of an extension,