SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco paramedic firefighter Jason Cortez was fatally injured Wednesday morning in a fall during a training accident at the department’s Mission District training facility, authorities confirmed.
San Francisco Fire spokesman Lt. Jonathan Baxter said the 42-year-old Cortez was severely injured in the accident at around 10 a.m. and was pronounced dead about an hour later at San Francisco General.
“This is a very trying time, as Jason was well liked,” Baxter said of the beloved 13-year veteran of the department.
— SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT MEDIA (@SFFDPIO) October 7, 2020
The training drill that led to the accident took place at the SFFD facility located at 19th and Folsom streets in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Cal/OSHA later confirmed that Cortez fell three stories during the drill, causing severe head injuries resulting in a fatality. Cal/OSHA is investigating the incident.
Cortez was married with two children. He was the son of a retired San Francisco firefighter who worked his way up the ranks of the department starting as an ambulance paramedic at Station 49, then going to the SFFD Academy and graduating as a paramedic/firefighter.
He was currently assigned to Station 3 in San Francisco Tenderloin District — one of the busiest firehouses in the nation.
The San Francisco Firefighters Union Local 798 Twitter account posted a tribute to Cortez with photos of the firefighter with one of his sons and his father.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the loss of one of our own. This morning, the San Francisco Fire Department lost one of our own in a Line of Duty Death. Jason Cortez was a beloved 13-year veteran with the SFFD who tragically lost his life at the age of 42. (Cont) pic.twitter.com/c8W5yuu6dQ
— San Francisco Firefighters 798 (@SFFFLocal798) October 7, 2020
“Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones, especially his two young children,” the post read. “San Francisco Firefighters mourn the loss of our brother and we are committed to doing everything in our power to support the Cortez family in the days, months, and years to come.”
Family members, firefighters, paramedics, San Francisco police officers, California Highway Patrol officers and other emergency responders have gathered at San Francisco General to pay their respects to Cortez. An honor procession has been organized.
The procession that started after 4 p.m. began at Potrero Avenue and 22nd Street at that hospital entrance, where it would travel north and turn east on 16th Street before turning south on Third Street, then traveling east on Evans and north on Jennings before arriving at the final destination, the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office at 1 Newhall Street in India Basin.