San Francisco firefighter inadvertently opens water valve before he died, report says

A San Francisco firefighter who died during a training accident was knocked off a fire escape when water shot out of a valve he inadvertently opened, according to a fire department report.

The preliminary investigation released on Sunday says 42-year-old Jason Cortez opened the valve and the power of the water knocked him over the third-floor railing. He was working on Engine 3 at Station 3 in the Tenderloin on Oct. 7. 

He later died at a hospital.

The preliminary report, or "green sheet" is based on eyewitness accounts from firefighters on scene and expert analysis. 

The report said coronavirus safety protocols may have played a role in the firefighter's  death because multi-company drills are suspended and Cortez's engine company had to conduct the pump operation alone instead of with another company.

The green sheet will now be included as an internal report to learn from the incident and improve safety, as well as serving as an investigative tool for the official police and Cal-OSHA investigations.

San Francisco Fire Department Lieutenant Jonathan Baxter said "They're able to utilize what our observations are, but it doesn't lead their investigation, it’s another element that they're able to utilize."

The fire department is meeting with Cortez's family to determine if there will be a public funeral or private ceremony to say goodbye.

His friends are hoping to raise money to benefit his widow, Patricia, and sons, Jackson and Greyson.

Cortez is also survived by his father, Gil, and his wife, Nellie, his mother, Sonya, his brother, Greg and extended family. 

If you're interested in donating to his family, click here.