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San Francisco Firefighter Dies in Diamond Heights Blaze

| June 2, 2011
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Photo: Susan Berston

From Bay City News::

A San Francisco firefighter has died after being injured while battling a blaze in the city’s Diamond Heights neighborhood this morning.

Three firefighters were hurt while fighting the fire, which was reported 10:44 a.m. at a four-story home on a hill in the 100 block of Berkeley Way, fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

All three were taken to San Francisco General Hospital.

Hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said one, a male firefighter, has since passed away. A second male firefighter is in critical condition, and the third firefighter, a female, is in fair condition.

The blaze started on the first floor of the home and spread to at least the second story, Talmadge said.

Talmadge said firefighters saw a flash while inside the home. Around that time, a firefighter in the home activated an emergency alarm. Dispatch got the alert and notified the incident commander, who tried to reach the firefighter by radio but was unable to, Talmadge said.

Additional crew members were sent in, and they found two firefighters down and “pretty badly burned,” Talmadge said.

The third injured firefighter was able to exit the home without help, she said.

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White and other members of the command staff have headed to the hospital to check on the firefighters.

Early this afternoon, crews remained at the scene of the fire putting out hot spots. American Red Cross personnel were speaking with the home’s occupants and police were at the scene.

Patty Stanton, who lives two doors down from the home that burned, said she came out to walk her dog this morning and saw white smoke in her neighbor’s garage, then saw three females run out of the home.

She said the smoke started to turn black and firefighters arrived.

After the injuries occurred, she saw paramedics working on the injured firefighters. “I just hope they’ll be OK,” Stanton said.

Bay City News

Update 3:30 p.m. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has 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. Our hearts are heavy as we are reminded of the sacrifices firefighters and their families make each day to keep our City safe. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the two injured firefighters and their families for a safe and speedy recovery.”

The Mayor’s Office said Lee has ordered all city flags flown at half-staff.

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  • deborah allen abrams

    My heart goes out to the family, friends, and firefighters who lost one of their own. And to the family of the injuried fireman still fighting for his life. I too lost my brother on 02-18-2011 Glenn Allen firefighter/paramedic with LAFD. I know the depth of sorrow you are going through. I think of him everyday, but I know that the pain will ease a little. My prayers are with you now, and comfort yourselves that the Lord has called him home.