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Monday, June 6, 2011

Vincent Perez, Anthony Valerio, S.F. Firefighters Killed in Blaze, to be Honored Friday at Funeral

Posted By on Mon, Jun 6, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Tony Valerio
  • Tony Valerio

San Francisco Fire Department staffers will gather on Friday to honor two of their own, who were killed while battling a blaze at a Diamond Heights home last week. Lieutenant Vincent Perez, 48, died Thursday after the fire, and Anthony "Tony" Valerio, 53, was pronounced dead on Saturday morning.

The double funerals will be held Friday at St. Mary's Cathedral on Gough Street. The time is tentatively set for 12:30 p.m.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White released a statement shortly after Valerio died: "This has been an extremely difficult time for the members of the San Francisco Fire Department," she said. "Their deaths have left all of our members with heavy hearts -- they will be greatly missed."

Perez and Valerio were not married and had no children. Both were experienced firefighters who served on Engine Company 26. They were among the 30 firefighters who responded to the major blaze on Thursday at about 10:45 a.m. at 133 Berkeley Way. A woman and children escaped the house fire, but Perez and Valerio were upstairs when a flashover occurred. That happens when temperatures rise so much that everything in the room ignites at one time. When fire officials found them, the two were badly burned and knocked unconscious.

Vincent Perez
  • Vincent Perez
Perez died about an hour later, while Valerio clung to life at San Francisco General Hospital with friends and family by his bedside. Firefighters were not feeling optimistic as of Friday; they told SF Weekly they did not think Valerio would not make it. He died at 7:45 a.m. the following day.

Valerio had served the city for 27 years, 13 of which were with the Department of Public Health, and 14 years with the Fire Department. He grew up in the Bay Area and  attended El Camino High School, City College, and San Francisco State University, according to fire officials.

Perez, who was also raised in the Bay Area, was a 21-year veteran of the San Francisco Fire Department. He had served as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. 

San Francisco Fire Fighters Local 798 has established trust accounts at the San Francisco Fire Credit Union (SFFCU) for the men's families. Contribution can be sent to SFFCU, 3201 Cailfornia St., San Francisco, CA 94118 or through

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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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