A San Francisco firefighter died Wednesday morning after falling three stories during a drill at a department training facility, officials said.
Firefighter/paramedic Jason Cortez, 42, fell some 30 feet, according to officials. He apparently fell from a ladder during a routine training drill.
Cortez, the son of a retired San Francisco firefighter, was married and had two children, department spokesman Lt. Jonathan Baxter said. He was a 13-year veteran of the department and was assigned to Station No. 3.
"This is a very trying time as Jason was well liked in our department," Baxter said.
Baxter called the incident a “training accident,” but did not elaborate, pending the outcome of an investigation.
Sources with knowledge of the incident said that Cortez had one foot on the balcony on the side of a brick tower and one foot on a ladder. He was apparently in the process of hooking up to a water line when he was overwhelmed by the unexpected force from the stream of water coming from the vertical line.
Firefighters tried to revive their fallen comrade at the scene. He was rushed to San Francisco General and was pronounced dead there, according to Baxter.
A procession from San Francisco General Hospital to the office of the Chief Medical Examiner was held Wednesday afternoon, with firefighters and other first responded lined up at locations along the route.
Cal OSHA has been notified about the incident.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed released the following statement: "My heart goes out to the family of the firefighter who passed away today. We ask so much of our firefighters who put public safety before their own personal safety every time they put on a uniform and in everything they do. My thoughts are with the entire San Francisco Fire Department, especially those from Station 3 and all the staff at San Francisco General who worked closely with this brave member who formerly served as a paramedic at Station 49. We are lucky to have so many brave men and women serving our City, and any time someone loses their life, it is a tragedy."
This story is developing. Stay tuned for updates.
CORRECTION (Oct. 7, 2020, 11:45 a.m.): A previous version of this story reported the training facility was located at Treasure Island.