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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vincent Perez Identified as Firefighter Who Died Battling Diamond Heights Blaze

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 4:51 PM

Vincent Perez
  • Vincent Perez

UPDATE: Rachel Kagen, spokeswoman with San Francisco General Hospital, told SF Weekly that 48-year-old Lieutenant Vincent Perez was the firefighter who died while battling the blaze today. A second firefighter, Anthony Valerio, 58, remains in critical condition. Perez was a 21-year veteran of the SFFD. He was born and raised in San Francisco.

Original Story 2:30 p.m.: One San Francisco firefighter died and another is fighting for his life after battling a blaze in San Francisco's Diamond Heights neighborhood.

According to the fire department, firefighters were called to 133 Berkeley Way at about 10:45 a.m. to extinguish a house fire. A third firefighter was also injured, but media outlets are reporting that she should be fine.

Rachel Kagen, spokeswoman at San Francisco General Hospital, said the names are not being released.

Mindy Talmadge, a spokeswoman for the Fire Department, told reporters that the firefighters were hurt after everything in a room ignited at once. Fire officials outside tried to communicate with the firefighters inside via radio, but got no response. When they went inside the house, they found two firefighters badly burned and unconscious.

It is the first time in 10 years that a firefighter died in the line of duty.

"The Fire Department is like a family, and we lost a family member today," Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White told reporters. "It's a tough day in San Francisco."

click to enlarge Anthony Valerio
  • Anthony Valerio

Mayor Ed Lee issued the following statement: "I am deeply saddened by the tragic death of a SFFD firefighter who died today in the line of duty. This is a devastating day for our City, and I
join all of San Francisco in expressing our deepest gratitude and profound sorrow for the loss one of our own."

More than 30 firefighters responded to the blaze at a four-story house. A woman and three children were home, but escaped with no injuries, The Chron reports.

San Francisco resident Jay Rosenthal told SF Weekly he was running in Glen Canyon when he heard sirens and glass breaking. He stopped and saw firefighters on each floor of the house and on the roof.

"When I ran by, it looked like all the flames were out but smoke was billowing out of the bottom two floors and the back of the house was charred pretty badly, Rosenthal says.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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