A San Francisco firefighter continues to cling to life today after being injured while battling a blaze in the city’s Diamond Heights neighborhood that killed one of his colleagues Thursday.
Anthony Valerio, 53, suffered extensive burns and other injuries while fighting the fire, which was reported at 10:44 a.m. Thursday at a four-story home at 133 Berkeley Way.
Lt. Vincent Perez, 48, and a female firefighter were also injured in the blaze, and Perez succumbed to his injuries later Thursday.
The female firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation and released.
Valerio remained in critical condition this afternoon at San Francisco General Hospital, hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said.
Flags around the Bay Area and state are being flown at half-staff in honor of Perez’s death and Valerio’s serious injuries.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who came to the hospital Thursday to pay his respects to the victims’ families, ordered all flags at city-owned sites be flown at half-staff in honor of the firefighters.
In solidarity with their colleagues in San Francisco, firefighters in San Jose today also lowered their flags to half-staff at each of the city’s 33 stations, fire Capt. Scott Kouns said.
Gov. Jerry Brown also ordered that the flags at the state Capitol in Sacramento be flown at half-staff, and released a statement today about the fire.
Brown said his wife and he “were saddened to learn of the death of Lt. Vincent Perez, a veteran firefighter who has bravely served his community for more than 20 years.”
He said, “Our thoughts are with those mourning this tragedy and we will continue to keep his colleague, Firefighter Anthony Valerio, in our prayers.”
Investigators today are still trying to determine what sparked the fire, as well as what caused the injuries to the firefighters.
Fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said Thursday that some firefighters reported seeing a “flashover,” an explosion from intense heat, inside the home. Around that time, an emergency alarm was activated that was attached to one of the firefighters inside the home.
Dispatch received the alert and notified the incident commander, who tried but was unable to reach the firefighter by radio, Talmadge said.
Additional crew members were sent in and found two firefighters, Perez and Valerio, down on the ground and “pretty badly burned,” she said.
Four residents were inside the home when the blaze started but they were all able to escape without injury.
This is the first time since 2003 that San Francisco has had a firefighter die in the line of duty.
Photo of Anthony Valerio: SFFD
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News