26-year member of SFFD dies in his office, surrounded by fire department family

- A 26-year veteran of the San Francisco Fire Department died Sunday morning while working a shift at Battalion 1. Batallion Chief Terry Smerdel returned from an early morning call and was later found unresponsive by his coworkers in his office.

Fellow firefighters immediately performed Advanced Life Support, but it was too late. And when Smerdel was pronounced deceased, he was surrounded by his fire department family. Shortly after, the Smerdel family and the department’s chaplain joined.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement today on the Smerdel's death:

"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."

After the September 11 terrorist attack in New York, Smerdel was one of the San Francisco firefighters who volunteered to provide aid. He spoke with KTVU about his experience. The interview can be seen above.

Battalion Chief Smerdel started with the department in 1991 and had been with Battalion 9 since January 2017.

“Terry was a valued member of our Department, and loved by all. He was a devoted family man; Great Husband, Father, Grandfather, and Brother. He will be greatly missed by his Fire Department family. I want to thank Terry for his 26 years of dedicated service to the San Francisco Fire Department, and the City and County of San Francisco,” said Chief Joanne Hayes-White.

Smerdel is survived by his wife Cyndy, daughter Danica, son-in-law Vince, grandson Christian, son Jack and his fiancé Christine, as well his sister Kathy and brother, retired Battalion Chief, Tony Smerdel.

The San Francisco Fire Department flags will be lowered to half-staff until further notice, as a mark of respect.  

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