Probe in second SF firefighter hose mishap

An investigation is now underway to determine why a Muni bus apparently drove onto a fire hose. The hose knocked San Francisco firefighter Matthew Vann into the air, causing the six-year veteran to land on his head.

"A Muni bus drove through the operating area on Spear Street," said Lt. Jonathan Baxter, a San Francisco Fire Department spokesman. "Simultaneously, a water supply line, or hose, was thrown upward into the air."

The incident happened after firefighters responded to an electrical fire Monday at a high rise near Spear and Market.

On Tuesday, Vann remained in critical condition.

Officials have not said if SFPD or parking control officers were on site to direct traffic away from the fire scene. Authorities say there are a number of other questions that have to be answered.

"Was that hose line charged, meaning there was water in the hose at the time?" Baxter said. "Was it flat? Either way, we shouldn't be driving over a hose. Was the hose driven over, is going to be under investigation."

In a statement, Frank Polizzi, a spokesman for the the state's workplace safety agency said, "Cal/OSHA has opened an inspection to determine the cause of the incident and identify any violations of workplace safety and health regulations."

The man driving the bus has been with Muni for five years. He was removed from driving status and will be drug-tested, which is standard procedure.

This isn't the first time a fire hose has injured firefighters.

Video from a fire scene in Pennsylvania shows a car driving over a hose, knocking a firefighter off his feet and onto the ground. Another was seriously hurt.

"If you've ever had your garden hose turned on, with nobody holding it, you'll see it dance around, like a snake," said Ron Siarnicki, executive director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

Siarnicki said fire hoses, whether filled with water or not, can be unforgiving

"Those are very dangerous pieces. There's pressure, there's a potential for failure and unfortunately, people do get hurt from those incidents," Siarnicki said.

Last month, San Francisco firefighter-paramedic Jason Cortez died of severe head injuries after he was knocked over by a water blast and fell three stories at a training facility.