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San Francisco firefighter-paramedic killed in training accident

Jason Cortez, 42, fell three stories during a company-level training drill, causing severe head injuries


Duty Death: Jason Cortez - [San Francisco]

End of Service: 07/10/2020

Oct. 10 Update: San Francisco Fire Department Station 3 has established the Firefighter Jason Cortez Memorial Fund.

Oct. 8, 10:28 a.m. PST Update: The San Francisco Fire Department holds press conference about the line-of-duty death of Jason Cortez.

By Janelle Foskett

SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco Fire Department firefighter-paramedic suffered a fatal injury during a company-level training accident on Wednesday morning.

Jason Cortez, 42, fell three stories during a training drill at the department’s Mission District training facility, suffering severe head injuries, reports CBS SF BayArea. Immediate ALS measures were taken, and Cortez was transferred to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead approximately one hour later.

A 13-year veteran of the SFFD and a son of a retired San Francisco firefighter, Cortez reportedly started as an ambulance paramedic at Station 49, before moving to the SFFD Academy and graduating as a paramedic-firefighter.

Cortez was assigned to Station 3 in the city’s Tenderloin District — the busiest fire station in the nation, according to SFFD spokesperson Lt. Jonathan Baxter.

Baxter added that this was a trying time for the department, as Cortez was very well-liked at the department and served as an advocate for public safety.

Family members, firefighters, paramedics, police officers, California Highway Patrol officers, and other emergency responders gathered to salute Cortez as he was transferred from San Francisco General to the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office.

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.

SFFD Station 3 set up a memorial fund to honor Cortez.

Cal/OSHA is investigating the incident.