Thousands To Attend SF Firefighters’ Funeral; Streets, I-280 To Be Closed

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS-SF) – Firefighters from around the state will converge on San Francisco on Friday to attend the funeral service for two firemen who died after fighting a blaze in the city’s Diamond Heights neighborhood last week.  The processional will include a number of street closures including a section of Interstate 280.

Fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said at least 6,000 people are expected to attend the services for Lt. Vincent Perez, 48, and firefighter-paramedic Anthony Valerio, 53.

The pair died of injuries they suffered while battling a fire at a home at 133 Berkeley Way on June 2. Perez died later that day and Valerio succumbed to his injuries on Saturday morning. An electrical problem is blamed for causing a  flashover, or surge of searing flame, which proved fatal to the firefighters.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

A vigil was held for the two men Thursday at St. Mary’s Cathedral, and a joint funeral is planned for 12:30 p.m. Friday, also at St. Mary’s.

After the funeral, the men will be buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma.

Photo Gallery: Firefighters Killed in SF Blaze

Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, Mayor Ed Lee, and Bill Storti, the captain of Fire Station 26 where the two men worked, will be among the speakers at the funeral, as will Perez’s brother and one of Valerio’s longtime ambulance partners, according to Talmadge.

The funeral is expected to bring firefighters from as far south as Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as members of dozens of fire departments in the Bay Area and elsewhere in Northern California, Talmadge said.

“The fire department is overwhelmed with the love and support that we’ve been receiving from our brothers and sisters in the fire service and the public,” she said. “Everyone has just been amazingly gracious.”

Perez and Valerio were badly burned when objects in a room of the house apparently heated to the point of ignition, a dangerous phenomenon known as a “flashover,” Talmadge said.

A female firefighter suffered smoke inhalation and minor burns. She was treated at the hospital and released later that day.

Talmadge said the initial fire that day appears to have been sparked by something electrical, but its exact cause remains under investigation.

The Police Department has released details about street closures planned from about 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday to make way for the funeral and procession to the cemetery.

Westbound Geary Boulevard will be closed from Gough Street to Webster Street, and eastbound lanes will be shut down from Divisadero Street to Gough Street.

Northbound Webster Street will be blocked from Geary Boulevard to Ellis Street, and there will be partial lane closures on Gough Street between Geary Boulevard and Ellis Street.

After the funeral, a procession more than 200 fire trucks will travel south on Gough Street, then head west on Market Street, south on Valencia Street, west on 15th Street, south on Dolores Street and merge onto San Jose Avenue, police said.

From San Jose Avenue, the procession will enter southbound Interstate Highway 280 and exit at Serramonte Boulevard, then turn onto Collins Road, then head onto El Camino Real where it will end at the cemetery.  Police and the CHP will close southbound 280 to all traffic between U.S. 101 and Serramonte Blvd. between 4 and 6 p.m., including ramps and exits, to allow for the procession.

Several San Francisco Municipal Railway bus and light-rail linesare expected to be impacted, including 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.

The San Francisco firefighters’ union has established trust accounts for the Perez and Valerio families at the San Francisco Fire Credit Union. Donations can be sent to the credit union at 3201 California St., San Francisco, 94118.

Condolence messages can be sent to Fire Station 26, 80 Digby St., San Francisco, 94131.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Nick Laughlin says:

    Really??? You display amazing poor taste to use the funeral information of two brave men who gave their lives protecting people like you with no thought or care as to your beliefs, and you tarnish that honor with a cheap shot at another department to further your political views. You make me sick

  2. Georgia Brown says:

    I just watched the news coverage about the deaths of the two firefighters. My sympathy goes out to their families and friends and I respect the work of all firefighters and their families should be proud of them. However, this is a career and not a “brotherhood”. Glorifying any job is a travesty – how about teachers, doctors, police officers, librarians and many other careers? They are all just as admirable if not more so as they require much more education and degrees. Are all the firefighters attending on paid time or are they attending on their own time? Also, in light of the budget situation of the cities, counties and the state, the use of that much equipment and fuel is wasteful. A few, fine, but that much is ridiculous and “over the top” and I am certain that those men would rather see the funds spent on education or help for the poor, elderly or disabled. In addition, closing major streets and even freeways inconveniences many, many people and again, I am sure that those men would not want to see that many people inconvenienced. None of this honors those men and I am sure that they would want those funds directed in another manner. The fire chief said that “this is a first”. Well, let’s hope that this is the last, not only in terms of loss of life, but of misdirection of taxpayer funds and if the funds are not taxpayer funds, but those of some firefighter association or donations, I am sure that those men would want those directed elsewhere also.

    1. unknown says:

      May-be so get over it,how maney times in 40 years have roads and bridges been closed ALOT DUE TO REPAIRS LIKE BAY BRIDGE AND PARENTS LIKE IN ALL OTHER STATES PLEASE PAY FOR YOUR KIDS PUBLIC EDUCATION AND IF YOU ARE NOT IN THIS COUNTRY LEGAL LIKE HOME SCHOOL

    2. Edward Franconi says:

      Georgia Brown, you should be ashamed of yourself!

    3. Luke says:

      Georgia, I am sure if it was possible, these men would still choose to show up at your house in the middle of the night or any other time for that matter for an Ems call or fire and they would be glad to do so.. Because that is the type of people Firefighters are. Think about that the next time you choose to share your opinions because I am sure a your “librarians and many other careers” would not… You diminish these men and their memories by being so insensitive and flat out ignorant.

    4. Blue collar professional says:

      When it comes to money there are no such thing as brotherhood among them.. “Hugh Racket Inc.”

    5. BOB says:

      Georgia’ its not like this happenes every day, show them some respect. Let the FIREMEN pay tribute to their fallen men the way they do.

    6. unknown says:

      REALLY?? Would you be saying the same thing if this was your home they were protecting? Would you have the same oppinion if it was someone in your family, or your friends? I find that one hard to believe. You are worried about traffic and these people gave thier lives trying to save another. Also, did you really have to go there with the other careers? Can you also kick the dead while you spit on them? This isn’t about traffice inconvenience or your personal oppinions of other positions. This is about a family of firefighters remembering the bravery of two fallen men. You should be ashamed of yourself for even thinking those things, let alone typing them for others to see. You want to talk about respecing others? What about the family of these two men that will possibly read your selfish post? People like you make me sick! It is no wonder our world is in the shape it is in with people like you in it!!
      God Bless all the Firefighters and their familys. Both in the firestation and out of the firestation.

    7. unknown says:

      So let me get this Georgia……when you need to call 911 for a fire…you are expecting them to come save you now? Hmmmmm
      They would because that is what they are dedicated to. But I am sure it would be really tempting to see your address and name appear and just let it burn.

  3. Nanou Qwist says:

    Georgia Brown, you are completely missing the point. Poor lady…

  4. Annette Byrne says:

    I wanted to leave a comment because I am a Firefighters Wife. First of all my husband madness over 100,000.000 a year but pays almost exactly half of that in taxes…..and because I know how much he paid in taxes last year and several of his “brothers” also paid……it does not hurt one bit to see tax payer money spent on honoring (and it is an HONOR) these men.

    Further more to compare going to work as a Firefighter to being a Librarian is ignorant!!!!! My husband leaves for 72 hours a week and I hang on the edge of my seat the whole time he is gone, hoping I never get that phone call. I doubt a lot of “Librarian” spouses feel this same fear!

    So my advice is that you chalk this one up to the brotherhood who pay tremendous amounts of taxes. Obviously you have never loved a hero!!!!

    PS my husband is very educated and works his butt off.

    1. burritoboy says:

      Oh no, you mean firefighters are so wonderful because they pay their taxes like everyone else? How special! How great!

      1. unknown says:

        No you jerk, it is because they chose to save people’s lives and homes from descruction and devistations. I swear, some of you people are just ignorant. You make me sick.

  5. Bobby♣ says:

    What do you mean by your husband works his butt off. Doing what???????? There are alot of people out there will do the same work at half the cost and still have a butt left to talk about…

    1. unknown says:

      Doing what??? Are you even serious right now? You really are that clueless Bobby? Give me a break! People are completely missing the fricken point. The point is two med DIED! Men who got into a profession where they knew this was always a possibility and chose to do it anyway because the love others and want to save them from death and destruction. Even if that means giving their own life to do it. This is how you thank them for what they do?

  6. Tony says:

    Seriously… some of you are complaining about a traffic inconvenience? These two guys gave up their lives for your dam community.Were you hated as children??? What’s wrong with you people? When we lost 4 firefighters in Seattle the city came out and mourned with the firemen. Seriously… some of you people are utterly defective!

    1. unknown says:

      Well said!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Luke Gilbertson says:

    NIce Job TONY!!!!!! We are down here from Bellevue to pay our respect to these two brothers that we never knew, but will never forget! Thanks for your comments, it means alot to the families and to everybody else in the “family”…

  8. WOW says:

    hell yea we’re complaining about the traffic! as if traffic isn’t already bad on fridays here in the city! i mean yes, go ahead and do the procession honor the men who died, it’s the least we can do. but to close the freeway though? just doesn’t make any sense! and another thing, are all firefighters attending this funeral? cuz i want to know, if there is a fire, who’s going to be fighting it?

    1. unknown says:

      Really Mature response. I am so glad you took the time to put that down for all of us to read.

      1. WOW says:

        not a problem!!

  9. unknown says:

    people DO NOT understand,, usually firefighters are the “first responder” first on scene,, they save people from car accidents from mangled torn metal and work feverishly to get you out to save your life,, your families life,,, your childs life,, they do this job because they love it and cannot imagine doing anything else ever,,, they live their lives with honor and dedication and would give their life for a complete stranger if they had to … it makes me sick,,, some of the comments,,

  10. !!! says:

    this is gonna be a major pain in the butt!

  11. gw says:

    they are taking this wayyyyy tooooo far,i’m sorry for the 2 firefighters who died but what about the soldiers who die everyday,do they get this kind of attention or cause this much fuss…NO THEY DON’T.also who’se paying the bill on all this,you guessed it…the tax payers!!!yes honor them and pay respect to them but this is out of line…

  12. taxpayer says:

    As for bravery, I agree that firefighters risk their lives. That’s why they are paid what they are paid. But firefighters should not be paid to attend funerals. If they are truly “brothers”, they would attend the funeral because they lost a brother, and would feel it is unethical to count it as paid time.

    As for taxes, everyone pays state and federal taxes, which take away about 50% of everyone’s gross income. So please don’t bring up “paying taxes” as a justification.

    As for 100% attendance of firefighters around the Bay Area,now is the time for villains to commit crimes and burn buildings. Whenever there is a funeral for police and fire, it leaves a giant window for crimanals tocommit crime. It is honorable to attend, but most of these guys don’t know the guys who died and don’t even look emotional as they walk into the St. Mary’s Cathedral. They look like they’re doing overtime and getting paid for it.

  13. george says:

    SF Bay Area has 7.4 million people. That means about 100,000 people die in the Bay Area every year or about 300 deaths per day. Should we shut down freeways 300 times per day? Are these 300 lives any less valuable than the brave firefighters?

    Does it take bravery to go into a burning building? Of course. But firefighting is much less dangerous than many other jobs. See this link: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfoi_rates_2007h.pdf

    We all take risks in our jobs or commuting every day. We are school teachers, nurses, programmers, social workers, gardeners, construction workers and stay at home moms. Most lead good lives and performed some service in their job and many may have died at their job or commuting to their job.

    I wonder if these men who gave their lives to serve their communities would consider shutting down freeways as serving. In fact, shutting down freeways will create significant risk to life and property as the freeways back up today.

    Most everyone who has a job or raises a family serves in some way. Some in ways which are more public than others. We’ll all die in some way. Some in ways which are more public than others. Do these men deserve to be honored? Absolutely. But shutting down a major artery to do so is a not the way.

  14. Robert says:

    What about other professions, the SF 911 dispatcher who takes all emergency calls and sends and coordinates all emergencies so these honorable men and women can work safely never get half this respect. The worse part is the fire profession doesn’t even know what the dispatchers do and consider our jobs unimportant. 911 dispatchers are the backbone to all public safety and they make half the pay as these heroes.

  15. sf resident says:

    While I have the greatest respect for firefighters who risk– and sometimes lose– their lives in fighting fires, I have to say that this public orgy of “grief” and media frenzy– with freeways closed and helicopters hovering over the city all day– is excessive.

  16. unknown says:

    What a waste of time and money! Closing freeways? Blocking downtown? For what? Complete and utter idiocy!

  17. andrea3000 says:

    A nice video to pay tribute to the fallen heroes..
    http://vimeo.com/oneantred/firefirghters

  18. Jamal says:

    Good grief, you people really have no clue. These men were true heroes and will never be forgotten. You just don’t get it. It’s ok..We don’t expect you to. You whine and complain daily and it only reflects your inept little lives so blatantly. Will there be a turnout like this at your funeral? Will you be remembered this way? We all know the answer to that one…Good luck.

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