UPDATE: Hospital and fire officials have told reporters the firefighter killed is Lt. Vincent Perez. Perez was 48-years-old. The firefighter critically burned is 53-year-old Anthony Valerio.
Perez was a San Francisco firefighter for 25 years. He was born and raised in the Mission District and Bernal Heights, and was known for his courage and sense of humor, firefighters union president Tom O'Connor said.
"He was always the first guy in a fire and the last guy out," O'Connor said. "He lightened up the mood at the firehouse … He was a firefighter's firefighter."
Speaking at San Francisco General Hospital, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White told reporters (see raw video below) that one firefighter has died and another is fighting for his life following a fire reported at 10:44 AM at 133 Berkeley Way. A third injured firefighter is reported in fair condition.
The blaze started on the first floor of the home and spread to at least the second story, (Spokeswoman Mindy) Talmadge said.
Talmadge said firefighters saw a flash while inside the home. Around that time, a firefighter in the home activated an emergency alarm. Dispatch got the alert and notified the incident commander, who tried to reach the firefighter by radio but was unable to, Talmadge said.
Additional crew members were sent in, and they found two firefighters down and "pretty badly burned," Talmadge said.
The third injured firefighter was able to exit the home without help, she said.
The firefighters were hurt during a "flashover," when everything in a room ignites at once because of a sudden influx of oxygen, Talmadge said.
All three injured firefighters were found together. The two most badly hurt were unconscious, and the third was able to walk out on his own, Talmadge said.
The house appears to be two stories from the street, but has two additional stories built into the slope of a hill in the back.
Talmadge said such structures "historically have caused us problems." Firefighters rushing into such buildings often do not realize that they're on the ground floor and or grasp the layout, she said.