SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A fire battalion chief died in the line of duty Sunday morning, San Francisco fire officials announced.
Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel died this morning while working a shift at Battalion 1. Fire officials said he had returned from an early morning fire call and was later found unresponsive by coworkers in his office.
Advanced life support measures were immediately initiated to no avail and he was pronounced dead surrounded by “his Fire Department family,” according to fire officials, and later joined at the station by the department chaplain and his family.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement calling Smerdel one of the city’s best.
“Today the city of San Francisco lost one of our own, Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel,” Lee said. “Terry put the safety of our city and our residents above his own day in and day out.”
“Not only was Terry a committed professional, he was a family man and beloved by all those who knew him. We are grateful for his public service and the city is forever indebted to his family.”
Smerdel began working at the fire department Oct. 15, 1991 and was assigned to Battalion 9 in January of this year. He worked in a variety of assignments and was a longtime member of Station 17, fire officials said.
“Terry was a valued member of the department and loved by all,” Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said in a statement. “He will be greatly missed by his fire department family.”