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A San Francisco firefighter tragically died Wednesday morning as a result of a training accident.

Firefighter and paramedic Jason Cortez was injured in a company-level drill when he fell three stories from the “Tower” at the 19th and Folsom streets training facility, according to a statement made by department spokesperson Jonathan Baxter in an afternoon press conference.

Baxter said the incident occurred around 10 a.m. Wednesday and that Cortez was given immediate advanced life support care at the scene. He was then transported to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries shortly before 11 a.m.

Staff and family members have gathered at the department to pay respects.

Baxter said:

“We are thankful to all the showing of support that has already come in to our department for this event. This is a very trying time as Jason was well liked in our department.”

Cortez rose from the ranks, working primarily as a paramedic at Station 49 in 2007 and recently graduated from the fire academy. He was then assigned to “the busiest station in America” at Station 3 in the Tenderloin neighborhood.

Baxter described Cortez as “a friend to all” and an “advocate for public safety.” Cortez, the son of a retired San Francisco firefighter, leaves behind a wife and two children.

In the coming hours and days, the department will hold a procession and celebration of the fallen firefighter’s life before he is laid to rest.

Baxter declined to take questions but said another press conference would be held later Wednesday with additional details.

Nik Wojcik

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