Firefighter died after high-pressure water knocked him off third-story railing

Firefighter died after high-pressure water knocked him off third-story railing

A San Francisco Fire Department firefighter-paramedic suffered fatal injuries Wednesday after he was hit in the chest by a powerful stream of water, knocking him over a third-story railing to the ground below, according to a preliminary summary report released Sunday by the fire department.

Jason Cortez, 42, was injured during a training drill around 10 a.m. Wednesday at the fire department’s training facility at 2300 Folsom St. He was rushed to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries an hour after he arrived.

Cortez, a San Francisco native, had been with the department since 2007, and had been assigned to the Tenderloin fire station since January 2019.

The preliminary summary report said that a fire lieutenant saw Cortez opening the gate of a “wye,” a short section of pipe with a branch joining it at an acute angle, without a hose line attached to it. That action, which the report says was inadvertent, released a powerful stream of water, which struck Cortez in the chest, causing him to lose his balance, fall backwards into and over the railing of the fire escape to the ground below.

Cortez was alone at his location, the preliminary report said, because of COVID-19 safety protocols.

Under COVID-19 procedures, “multi-company” drills are suspended. That, the report said, required the members of Engine 3 to conduct a pump operation drill alone at their specific locations. Such a drill usually would require two engine companies and eight personnel to perform, instead of four.

“Each (firefighter) was required to carry out tasks individually which are normally done as part of a team,” the report said.

A GoFundMe account to raise money for Cortez’ two sons to attend college has been established.

Bay Area Newssan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Muni’s K-Ingleside line will return six months earlier than previously announced. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
K-Ingleside train to return on May 15

Announcement comes on the heels of pressure from Supervisor Myrna Melgar

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs spoke to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16. (Courtesy SFGOV)
City launches task force to explore Universal Basic Income programs

San Francisco on Friday launched a guaranteed income task force that could… Continue reading

Demonstrators march from Mission High School towards the San Francisco Police station on Valencia Street. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Vigil, march honors those killed by police

Deaths of Daunte Wright, Roger Allen and others prompt renewed calls for defunding

A Recology employee stands at the comapany’s recycling facility on Pier 96 in 2016. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)
Nuru scandal: Feds charge second former Recology executive with bribery

A second former Recology executive is facing charges for allegedly bribing ex-Public… Continue reading

Kiana Williams
Stanford’s Kiana Williams drafted by WNBA champion Seattle Storm

Kiana Williams is going from one championship team to another. A senior… Continue reading

Most Read