Electrical Accident Caused Blaze That Killed 2 San Francisco Firefighters

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Investigators have determined the cause of a house fire that killed two San Francisco firefighters was accidental in nature.

SFFD Lt. Mindy Talmadge told CBS 5 on Thursday that while the full investigation report was not yet completed, some type of electrical problem ignited the blaze that turned deadly when some firefighters were caught in a “flashover.”

>> Photo Gallery: Firefighters Killed in SF Blaze

A “flashover” is a surge of searing flame when everything in a room ignites at once, causing the room’s contents to explode.

Word of the deadly fire’s cause came just a day before a memorial was scheduled for veteran firefighters Vincent Perez and Anthony “Tony” Valerio.

The service was set to be held Friday afternoon at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco. The fire department was expecting thousands of firefighters from around California and other states to attend.

The 48-year-old Perez died a week ago Thursday while fighting the fire at 133 Berkeley Way in the city’s Diamond Heights neighborhood. The 53-year-old Valerio succumbed to his injuries on Saturday at San Francisco General Hospital.

Both men were San Francisco natives assigned to the same engine company.

Valerio and Perez were the first San Francisco firefighters killed in the line of duty in nearly a decade.

According to San Francisco Chronicle newspaper archives, the last time San Francisco lost more than one firefighter to the same fire was in 1946.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved.)


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