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

Ali Jamalian, whose life was disrupted in the wake of being charged with possession decades ago, now heads up Sunset Connect, a cannabis manufacturing company. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Green Rush: Cannabis equity program elevates unexpected entrepreneurs

‘It’s a form of reparations for those of us who were ruined by cannabis arrest’

The Giants and Dodgers face each other again following a May series the Dodgers swept; Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux caught stealing by Giants second baseman Donovan Solano at Oracle Park on May 23 is pictured. 
Chris Victorio/
Special to The Examiner
Giants vs. Dodgers: What you need to know before this week’s huge series

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner That grinding noise you’ll hear… Continue reading

San Francisco supervisors approved zoning changes that will allow a chain grocery store to occupy the bottom floor of the 555 Fulton St. condo building. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Trader Joe’s approved for Hayes Valley, bringing long-awaited grocery store

New Seasons Market canceled plans at 555 Fulton St. citing construction delays

Most Read