An SF firefighter died Wednesday after falling from a fire escape at the SF Fire Department's training facility at 19th and Folsom streets in the Mission.
The seven-story brick structure in the middle of a parking lot at 2310 Folsom is used for a relatively small percentage of training activities for the SFFD, with about 80 percent of training occurring at a separate facility on Treasure Island. Some sort of routine training exercise was occurring there Wednesday morning when the accident occurred.
SFist learned from an anonymous source that the firefighter fell from the third or fourth floor of the structure, and was transported to SF General where he was pronounced dead.
The department's public information officer, Lt. Jonathan Baxter, gave a press conference Wednesday afternoon to explain the incident, and he identified the fallen officer as firefighter-paramedic Jason Cortez, who had been with the department 13 years.
"At 10 o'clock this morning, at a company level drill, firefighter-paramedic Jason Cortez was injured. Immediate advanced life-support was administered at the scene." Baxter said that after medical personnel "valiantly worked aggressively to revive him," Cortez succumbed to his injuries shortly before 11 a.m.
"This is a very trying time," Baxter added, "as Jason was well liked in our department." Baxter described Cortez as a husband, father of two, and the son of a retired San Francisco firefighter.
Baxter further explained that there will be a mourning procession from SF General Hospital to the Medical Examiner's Office. Later, he said, there will further celebrations of Cortez's life and a final funeral ceremony.
Former assistant deputy chief for the SFFD's training division, Jeff Columbini, explained to Hoodline in 2017, "We use our tower, where we can use our aerial operations to basically train to get our people to [get on and off] the roofs and also [conduct] rescues from windows." He added that the seven-story tower was used for "a lot of pump operations with our engines," as training exercises.
The San Francisco Police Department is reportedly conducting an investigation at the scene of the accident.