For the first time in nearly a decade, two San Francisco firefighters have died in the line of duty, fighting a two-alarm blaze last week in the city’s Diamond Heights neighborhood.
48-year-old Lieutenant Vincent Perez died shortly after being taken to San Francisco General Hospital from injuries suffered in the blaze last Thursday. 53-year-old Anthony Valerio succumbed to his injuries early Saturday morning.
The two men were badly burned in the fire at a four-story home on Berkeley Way. Fire officials say that objects in the room were heated to the point of ignition, a dangerous phenomenon known as a “flashover.”
A female firefighter was also injured, but was treated and later released.
Perez spent the last 21 years as a San Francisco firefighter. Valerio spent 27 years as a San Francisco city employee-13 with the Department of Public Health and 14 as a firefighter.
Fire investigators are still trying to determine exactly what caused the blaze.
A joint funeral will be held for the two men on Friday afternoon at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The San Francisco firefighters’ union has also established trust accounts for the Perez and Valerio families at the San Francisco Fire Credit Union.
Photo Credit: San Francisco Fire Department