Mayor Lee issues statement on death of SF fire battalion chief

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement Sunday on the death earlier in the morning of a fire battalion chief who thought of others before himself.

“Today the city of San Francisco lost one of our own, Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel. Terry put the safety of our city and our residents above his own day in and day out.

“Not only was Terry a committed professional, he was a family man and beloved by all those who knew him. We are grateful for his public service and The City is forever indebted to his family.”

Smerdel died Sunday morning while working a shift at Battalion 1. Fire officials said he had returned from an early morning fire call and was later found unresponsive by coworkers in his office.

Advanced life support measures were immediately initiated to no avail and he was pronounced dead surrounded by “his Fire Department family,” according to fire officials, and later joined at the station by the department chaplain and his family.

Smerdel began working at the fire department Oct. 15, 1991 and was assigned to Battalion 9 in January of this year. He worked in a variety of assignments and was a longtime member of Station 17, fire officials said.

“Terry was a valued member of the department and loved by all,” Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said in a statement. “He will be greatly missed by his fire department family.”

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

Just Posted

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

(Robert Greene/Tribune News Service)
As tensions grow over vaccinations and politics, California lawmakers face threats from public

Anti-vaccine speakers hint at gun violence during routine budget hearing at state Capitol

Dr. Martin Luther King in Sam Pollard’s ‘MLK/FBI’. (Courtesy of IFC Films/TNS)
The superb documentary ‘MLK/FBI’ clearly connects the past to our troubling present

Justin Chang Los Angeles Times Among the many archival materials excerpted in… Continue reading

Toni Isabella, a counselor at Ohlhoff Recovery Programs, finds helpful assistance from service dog Barker Posey.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Toni Isabella: Helping people indoors and out recover from addiction’s dark side

Counselor supports holistic, progressive approach to healing

Most Read