FirefighterDies06.02.11lede.jpgTo honor the tragic deaths of two SF firefighters who died last Thursday battling a Diamond Heights blaze, firefighters from around the state and nation will be attending their funeral service this Friday. The service and subsequent procession is expected to have a significant impact on traffic and transit much of Friday, with street closures and delays expected.

48 year old Lt. Vincent Perez and 53 year old firefighter and paramedic Anthony Valerio suffered fatal injuries from last week’s fire at 133 Berkeley Way. As previously reported, Perez was a member of the U.S Marine Corps and had been with SFFD for 21 years. He died about an hour after firefighters hit the scene at 10:45am. A Bay Area native, Valerio graduated from El Camino High School, City College, and SFSU before serving with the City’s Department of Health for 13 years and SFFD for 14. Valerio succumbed to his injuries just two days after battling the blaze. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

In addition to the funeral, which will take place at St. Mary’s Cathedral this Friday at 12:30pm, a vigil will also be held at St. Mary’s the day before at 7pm. St. Mary’s Cathedral is located at 1111 Gough St.

Some 200 firetrucks will be lining the streets up to St. Mary’s Cathedral from Divisadero to Gough. Firefighters union chief Tom O’Connor calls it a “lowball estimate” so be on the lookout for an even greater showing of solidarity Friday by California’s firefighters.

As ABC7 reports, due to the mass amount of firefighters and firetrucks packing the area, some major road closures will occur that day, from about 9am to 5:30pm.

The Ex also reports that there could be additional road closures around St. Mary’s Cathedral as thousands gather to honor Perez and Valerio.

In a statement, SFPD says that the following streets will be closed from 9-5:30 Friday:

Geary Street: west bound, Gough to Webster and east bound, Divisadero to Gough

Webster Street: north bound lanes, Geary to Ellis

Gough Street: partial lane closures, Geary to Ellis

Following the funeral (which begins at 12:30pm) a procession will travel the following route:

South on Gough, turning west on Market St. and then turning south on Valencia. From
Valencia St., the procession will continue, turning west on 15th Street, then turning south on Dolores and merging onto San Jose Avenue.

From San Jose Avenue, the procession will enter the 280 Freeway south bound to Serramonte Blvd. From Serramonte Blvd, the procession will turn onto Collins Rd, then on El Camino Real ending at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Muni will also be impacted by street closures, SFPD warns. The F-Market, J-Church, 5-Fulton, 6-Parnassus, 21-Hayes, 22-Fillmore, 24-Divisadero, 31-Balboa, 33-Stanyan, 48-Quintara, 38/38L-Geary, and 71/71L-Haight-Noriega could all be disrupted.

Already this week and as previously reported, Coit Tower has been illuminated in red to honor those fallen firefighters. The tower will stay red until Friday evening.

ABC7 will be streaming the funeral on their website.

If you’d like to make any donations to the Perez and Valerio families, the SF firefighters’ union has set up trust accountsat the SF Fire Credit Union at 3201 California St, 94118. Donations can be sent there, while condolence messages can be sent to Fire Station 26, 80 Digby St, 94131.

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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