On behalf of the more than 1,700 Firefighters and Paramedics of San Francisco Firefighters IAFF Local 798, I am proud to present our fifth annual San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) Year in Review photo book for 2018. Founded as a professional fire department in 1866, for more than 150 years the SFFD has provided fire suppression and emergency medical services to the City and County of San Francisco. In 2018, San Francisco Firefighters and Paramedics responded to more than 149,000 emergency calls for service – the largest annual call volume in the history of our department. In addition to the tens of thousands of calls that our Firefighters respond to in San Francisco, as part of California’s Fire Service and Rescue Mutual Aid System, the SFFD deployed multiple Strike Teams to several wildfires that burned throughout California. 2018 was the worst, most destructive wildfire season in the history of the state with SFFD Firefighters joining our fellow brothers and sisters on the frontlines to protect communities across California. We hope that this publication helps to tell the story of our dedicated First Responders, who work around the clock to protect the people of San Francisco and are asked to do more than ever in dangerous and difficult conditions. Even as the demands on our Department continue to grow each year, the members of Local 798 commit countless hours of their own time giving back through the San Francisco Firefighters Local 798 Toy Program, the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, and dozens of charitable efforts to improve our city. As we head into 2019, Local 798 congratulates Deputy Chief Jeanine Nicholson on her appointment to Fire Chief of the SFFD. We thank outgoing Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White for her more than 15 years of service to the citizens of San Francisco and wish her well in retirement. Local 798 welcomes new leadership in the Department and is looking forward to establishing a strong working relationship with our Administration. Our priority continues to be securing adequate funding and resources for fire suppression and emergency medical services for our brave men and women in the field. I am honored to serve as the newly-elected President of the finest Firefighters and Paramedics in the world those who risk their lives to protect the people of San Francisco. I am also grateful for the leadership of our past President Tom O’Connor and Director Adam Wood, who both stepped down after many years of service on the Local 798 Executive Board. On behalf of the Executive Board and our dedicated members, I hope you enjoy this publication and I thank you for your support of our Firefighters. Sincerely,
Shon Buford President San Francisco Firefighters International Association of Fire Fighters Local 798
FIRE STATION LOCATIONS
SAN FRANCISCO POPULATION
CALLS FOR SERVICE
145,000 135,000 125,000 115,000 105,000 95,000
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
KITCHEN FIRE January 9 POTRERO HILL - Around 11:25AM, Firefighters were called to a one-alarm fire in the 300 block of Texas Street. Emergency crews were able to contain the blaze in 20 minutes with no reported injuries.
FIRE CREWS BATTLE RV FIRE January 9 GLEN PARK - Crews tackled an early morning recreational vehicle fire on Monterey Boulevard and were able to extinguish the flames within 20 minutes. Firefighters always approach these types of fires with extreme caution because of the propane and gas tanks contained on the vehicles and also because of the carcinogens that are released into the air from the burning contents of the vehicles.
CLIFF RESCUE January 13
BAKER BEACH - At 6:55PM, Fire Crews were called to the top of a cliff near Baker Beach where a person was reported to need assistance. Firefighters executed a technical rope rescue in spite of unstable conditions, heavy brush, and darkness. Fortunately, the person was evaluated by Paramedics at the scene and appeared to be in good condition.
APARTMENT FIRE DISPLACES RESIDENTS January 16 NOB HILL - Firefighters sprang into action after reports of a two-alarm fire that broke out at 3:47PM in the 1400 block of Taylor Street near Pacific Avenue. Crews encountered heavy flames that damaged two large apartment buildings and impacted 20 residential units. They were able to contain the fire in 46 minutes with no reported injuries. Unfortunately, 12 people, including a family of four, were displaced from the fire and were assisted by the American Red Cross and City Services. SFFD
DESTRUCTIVE FIRE DAMAGES MULTIPLE BUSINESSES January 23 WEST PORTAL - Fire Crews were dispatched at 10:42PM to the first block of West Portal Avenue where a fierce three-alarm fire raged along a row of businesses. When crews arrived, there was extensive damage to multiple businesses, including a hardware store, a small grocery market, and a beauty salon. After carefully inspecting the premises to determine that no one was inside the structure, Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames in one hour and 10 minutes with no reported injuries. The impacted businesses were also eligible to receive Small Business Disaster Relief Funds through the City to aid in their recovery.
FIRE THREATENS FIVE-STORY BUILDING January 28 MISSION DISTRICT - Fire Crews extinguished a fire at a five-story building on 25th Street in under one hour.
FIRE ENGULFS TWO HOMES February 2 ALAMO SQUARE - Around 3:30AM, Firefighters were called to the 1200 block of Fulton Street where a two-alarm fire consumed two Victorian-style homes. Crews were able to control the blaze at the two residences located near the famous Painted Ladies in 45 minutes. Five people, including an infant, were displaced in the fire and received help from the American Red Cross and City Services. Rose McTigert
SFFD GRADUATES RECRUIT ACADEMY CLASS 123 February 8 DRILL TOWER - The 123rd Class took their Oath of Allegiance to become Probationary Firefighters with the SFFD at Archbishop Riordan High School. The swearing-in ceremony marks the culmination of a rigorous 20-week training program that prepares these men and women for a successful career in the Fire Department.
CREWS RESCUE DOGS February 16
FORT FUNSTON - Shortly after 7:00AM, Station 19 Firefighters and Paramedics arrived at a cliffside where two dogs were trapped. Despite the rough conditions and unsteady terrain, crews used harness and rope to retrieve the dogs and bring them to safety. Both dogs were in good condition.
DARING CLIFFSIDE RESCUE February 19
LANDS END - Firefighters were dispatched around 5:00PM to a cliff at Mile Rock where an adult male was stuck. It was not determined how the male hiker found his way off of the hiking path, but Fire Crews attached a harness and helped the man walk back up to safety. The man was treated at the scene and had no injuries.
Santiago Mejia/SF Chronicle
Santiago Mejia/SF Chronicle
FIRE AT ALLEGED DRUG HOUSE February 23 CASTRO DISTRICT - Around 10:35AM, Firefighters responded to a two-alarm blaze that broke out in a reported drug house located in the 500 block of Sanchez Street. Upon arrival, they found a twostory Victorian home well involved with flames and spreading to an adjacent property. Crews were able to limit the damage to the primary homeâ€™s interior and partial damage to a unit next door. They achieved a knockdown in one hour and 27 minutes with no reported injuries. SFFD
RESCUE AT FORT FUNSTON March 4 FORT FUNSTON - Fire Crews sprang into action after reports of a woman and her dog were trapped on a cliff shortly after 6:00PM. Fire Officials reported that the dog chased a ball that went over the cliff and became trapped before crews arrived. Fortunately, the woman and her Pitbull named “Blueberry” were safely rescued and determined to be in good condition.
TWO-STORY BUILDING FIRE March 7 SFFD
NOE VALLEY - A one-alarm blaze brought Fire Crews to the 3800 block of 26th Street in the late morning where flames and smoke had erupted from several units in a two-story building. By midday, Firefighters were able to contain the flames and rescue one German Shepherd dog with no civilian injuries reported.
CLIFFSIDE RESCUE OF “HOBIE” THE DOG March 11
FORT FUNSTON - Fire Crews from Station 19 were successfully able to rescue a Labrador Retriever from a cliffside at Fort Funston. “Hobie” was brought to safety in good condition.
VEHICLE ACCIDENT MUTUAL AID March 14 DALY CITY - Crews from Daly City Fire, San Mateo EMS, the CHP, and the SFFD all worked together at the scene of a motor vehicle accident on a busy San Francisco freeway.
FOUR-ALARM INFERNO RIPS THROUGH THREE-STORY BUILDING March 17 NORTH BEACH - Just before 7:30PM, over 130 Firefighters rushed to battle a massive fire in a three-story brick building located at 659 Union Street between Powell Street and Columbus Avenue. Flames were visible from the roof as the fire engulfed apartment units on the second and third floors of the building. As billows of smoke poured from at least 10 businesses on the first floor, Fire Crews evacuated people from two adjacent apartment buildings before ultimately achieving containment in one hour and 30 minutes. Over 45 Fire Apparatus were utilized at the scene and many remained to put out any hot spots. One Firefighter was injured during cleanup efforts and was taken to a local hospital in stable condition. In spite of incredible damage caused by the blaze, no civilian injuries were reported.
ST. PATRICK’S DAY March 17 CIVIC CENTER - The St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebrated its 167th year in San Francisco where tens of thousands gathered to watch floats, bands, cable cars, music, elected officials, and our Firefighters march through the streets. This annual event, reported to be the largest celebration of Irish culture west of the Mississippi River, started at 2nd Street and Market Street and ended at Civic Center Plaza where the Irish Bank St. Patrick’s Day Parade Block Party commenced with music, dance, and spirited fun.
SHEARED HYDRANT ONE-ALARM March 26 LAUNDROMAT FIRE April 4 CIVIC CENTER - Fire Crews worked to cut off the water supply and repair a hydrant located on Market Street between 8th and 9th that was sheared during a multi-vehicle collision.
INNER RICHMOND - Firefighters responded to a fire inside a laundromat located at 4427 California Street. Apparently, a clothes dryer malfunctioned and sparked the blaze which was contained at 1:52PM. Firefighters rescued a dog and kept the flames from spreading to the residential units above.
LOSS IN $
CRAWLSPACE FIRE NEAR HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT April 13 BAYVIEW - Rescue Squad 2 and the Hazmat Unit were called to assist Fire personnel at a homeless encampment near Highway 280 and Napoleon Street around 7:00AM. Crews were successful in extinguishing a fire in a crawlspace and determined that no one was trapped or injured.
CREWS QUICKLY SAVE MULTI-UNIT BUILDING April 14 EXCELSIOR DISTRICT - Fire Crews were successful in their attempt to quench a house fire on Paris Street where flames ignited in a single room. The building was subdivided into multiple units which created some challenges for Firefighters. Due to the quick work of Engine 43 and additional crews on the scene, the fire was kept to a single room with no reported injuries.
FATAL THREE-ALARM FIRE April 21
Sarah Ravani/SF Chronicle
INNER SUNSET - Just after 9:30PM, a three-alarm fire broke out at a three-story residential building on 8th Avenue between Noriega Street and Ortega Street. More than 100 Firefighters arrived at the scene and attacked the stubborn smoke and intense flames from nearby rooftops. Although Fire Crews were able to knock down the fire within two and a half hours, one female resident died at the scene and one Firefighter was injured and transported to a hospital in stable condition. Firefighters also remained onsite to prevent any flareups and to continue their investigation of its cause. A dozen residents were displaced as a result of the fire damage and were given assistance through the American Red Cross.
ONE-ALARM RESIDENTIAL FIRE May 12
STRUCTURE FIRE DISPLACES FOUR May 23
POTRERO HILL - Just before 2:00PM, Firefighters sprang into action to contain a structure fire at a residence in the 700 block of Vermont Street. Crews were successful at keeping the flames inside the structure and preventing them from spreading to other adjoining buildings. The blaze was under control in just over an hour. Fortunately, two dogs and a cat were rescued.
LONE MOUNTAIN - Firefighters responded to a reported one-alarm fire in a multi-story residence located at 252 Parker Avenue around 4:00PM. Crews were able to contain the flames to two structures, but not before one adult was treated for smoke inhalation and transported to a local hospital. Four other people were displaced in the incident.
TOUR BUS FIRE May 23 NORTH BEACH - Around 4:40PM, Firefighters came to the aid of a tour bus with approximately 15 passengers aboard that was consumed with smoke and flames. All passengers were evacuated, while the driver and two other passengers were transported from the bus to a local hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. Fire personnel were able to extinguish the blaze and clear the scene by 7:00PM.
HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT FIRE May 27 MISSION BAY - Fire Crews rushed to close the on-and off-ramps along Interstate 280 and Mariposa Street around 6:00AM after a fire started in a homeless encampment. The flames quickly spread to a nearby vacant commercial building located at 999 Mariposa Street and both incidents were contained within one hour. Investigators determined that the fire was accidental and caused by a warming and cooking source. SFFD
KITTEN TRAPPED IN WALL June 1 BAYSHORE - At 9:42PM in the 1200 block of Sunnydale Avenue, Firefighters worked frantically to rescue a kitten trapped within a wall of a building. Crews were able to locate the kitten by shining a light into a hole they made in the wall and safely extracting the distressed animal. The kitten was doing well thanks to the care taken by rescuers.
FIREWORKS SPARK TWO-ACRE BRUSH FIRE June 23 BERNAL HEIGHTS - Just before noon, Firefighters arrived at a reported two-alarm vegetation fire on Andover Street that was a result of fireworks igniting nearby brush. Fire Crews were able to squelch the flames that stretched over two acres. One person was injured trying to put out flames with a garden hose, but was treated and reported to be in good condition. No other injuries were reported.
DOG INJURED IN FALL June 27 FORT FUNSTON - Fire Crews rushed to the John Muir Gate at Fort Funston after reports of a trapped dog that fell at least 150 feet down a cliff in the morning hours. The dog tumbled down the cliff and landed on the beach, requiring a stretcher to transport the injured animal after sustaining what appeared to be fractured legs. The dog was expected to survive thanks to the heroic work of the Firefighters on the scene.
SF Recreation and Park Department
TWO-ALARM STRUCTURE FIRE July 2 GOLDEN GATE PARK - At approximately 3:13AM, flames were reported from the Golden Gate Park Golf Course that resulted in extensive damage to the parkâ€™s clubhouse. Crews were able to contain the blaze by 4:23AM and reported no injuries. Unfortunately, the fire damage closed the facility, first built in 1951, for an extended period of time.
THREE-ALARM BLAZE INJURES FIREFIGHTER July 10 FISHERMAN'S WHARF - One Firefighter sustained injuries in a threealarm fire at 333 Columbus Avenue that forced the evacuation of one business and an upstairs apartment. Crews were able to extinguish the fire in just under an hour, but the 1901 building suffered extensive damage. SFFD
ROOF DECK FIRE July 11 TELEGRAPH HILL - At 11:00AM, Firefighters responded to 364 Vallejo Street to extinguish a fire on the roof deck of the multiple-story building. The flames were knocked down in approximately 30 minutes without injury.
SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT RECRUIT ACADEMY CLASS 124 August 10 DRILL TOWER - The SFFD was proud to graduate 49 entry level Firefighters as a part of the 124th class of recruits. 12 of the 49 are from the Department’s EMS Division and 10 of those 12 continued as Firefighter Paramedics, enhancing the Department’s EMS Division. Each of the new Firefighters took their Oath of Allegiance after a 20-week training academy designed to prepare these men and women for a career in the SFFD. Congratulations to Class 124!
FAMILY EVACUATED FROM HOUSE FIRE August 14 BERNAL HEIGHTS - A house fire at 134 Milton Street was reported in the morning hours where Battalion 9 Firefighters responded to smoke from a closet in a two-story residential building. Four family members and a pet were able to evacuate the premises while crews extinguished the flames that ignited as a result of faulty wiring. A daycare center attached to the home was heavily damaged and had to be closed. City Services and the American Red Cross were on hand to assist the displaced family.
GREATER ALARM APARTMENT FIRE August 31 OUTER RICHMOND - Firefighters rushed to a reported fire at 4:49PM in a three-story building in the 800 block of 48th Avenue near the ocean. The building was occupied when crews arrived and Firefighters worked to rescue three people from the windows of the seven-unit structure. Sadly, a service dog perished and one woman was injured when she jumped from a third-floor apartment. A total of five people were rescued and five people were reported as injured. Ten people were displaced from the fire and received assistance from the American Red Cross and City Services.
ONE-ALARM BLAZE DISPLACES THREE RESIDENTS September 3 OUTER RICHMOND - Just after 4:00PM, Firefighters were dispatched to the 3300 block of Cabrillo Street where a reported one-alarm fire burned the first and second floors of a two-story residential building. Fire units were able to contain the flames in just over 30 minutes, but the extensive damage caused three people and a dog to be displaced. The American Red Cross and other City Services assisted the residents.
SAN FRANCISCO FIRST RESPONDERS STAIR CLIMB September 8 FINANCIAL DISTRICT - More than 400 participants from across the state converged on the 555 California Street Building for the annual San Francisco First Responders Stair Climb, which raises awareness and funds for scholarships to programs for First Responders suffering from PostTraumatic Stress Injuries. Typically held on the Saturday before 9/11, this yearâ€™s event assembled more than 2,000 donors and dozens of volunteers. Thanks to the host, National First Responders Fund, for the amazing work they do to help First Responders.
71ST ANNUAL POLICE & FIRE MEMORIAL MASS September 11 RICHMOND DISTRICT - Members of the San Francisco Police and Fire Departments joined friends and family at St. Monica Church to remember and honor the brave Firefighters and Police Officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. This annual event was first held in 1947 following the Herbert Hotel Fire where four Firefighters lost their lives and continues to have great meaning in the local public safety community. We will always remember those who have given their lives to protect San Francisco.
9/11 REMEMBRANCE September 11
MISSION DISTRICT - Mayor London Breed and Department leaders joined 50 Firefighters at Station 7 to mark the 17th Anniversary of the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks. With flags lowered to half-staff, dignitaries led the gathering in a minute of silence and a ringing of the bell at 6:59AM, the approximate time that 343 New York City Firefighters were killed in the south tower of the World Trade Center when it collapsed. Each of the names of the 343 Firefighters were also read in the ceremony, a lasting reminder of the heroism and sacrifice made and an acknowledgement of the thousands killed in the surrounding communities that they will never be forgotten.
Jessica Christian/SF Chronicle
CALLS BY BATTALION B01
11,855 771 5,000
BAY RESCUE September 20 AQUATIC PARK - Firefighters were able to successfully save two people and pull another from the San Francisco Bay just before 6:00AM. At approximately 5:20AM, dispatchers received an emergency call from a woman who reported that her two friends needed help near Municipal Pier and Fort Mason, in an area called Black Point. Land and water crews were able to locate one male who was unconscious in the water and transport him to a local hospital in critical condition. Crews also rescued another man and a woman who were clinging to a rocky edge at 6:42AM. SFFD
INCIDENTS BY CALL TYPE Alarms 11,463
Water Rescue 137
Structure Fire 5,380
Citizen Assist/Service Call 3,192
Outside Fire 2,812
Mutual Aid 13
Train/Rail Incident 12
Electrical Hazard 918
Elevator Rescue 823
Suspicious Package 9
Gas Leak 776
Confined Space 8
Smoke Investigation 581
Vehicle Fire 438
Watercraft In Distress 5
Fuel Spill 181
High Angle Rescue 4
Marine Fire 2
TWO ADULTS RESCUED OFFSHORE September 23 SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Coast Guard made a dramatic rescue of two adults who were in distress approximately 70 miles offshore after reportedly experiencing poor weather conditions and problems with their vessel. The two injured victims were flown to shore and treated by SFFD Paramedics.
KITCHEN FIRE October 1 FILLMORE DISTRICT - At approximately 1:33PM, Firefighters were called to a multi-story residence at Fillmore and Chestnut Streets, where an oven ignited a fire in a kitchen. Crews arrived at the scene and quickly extinguished the blaze while preventing injury and any damage to the unit.
CREWS SAVE INJURED HIKER October 8 FORT FUNSTON - Firefighters were dispatched around 5:12PM on reports of a man who fell during a hike. SFFD Crews were joined by Golden Gate National Parks personnel at the scene to locate the man and get him to the beach for evaluation. Crews transported the man to the hospital in serious condition.
ANNUAL OFFICER AND FIREFIGHTER OF THE YEAR AWARDS October 20 Firefighter/Paramedic Matthew Lane, Firefighter Steve Keller, and Firefighter Dewayne Eckerdt were honored at the San Francisco American Legion Police-Fire Post 456 Annual Officer and Firefighter of the Year Awards Dinner. The award is given to Firefighters who have gone above and beyond the call of duty and have demonstrated a deep commitment to community service and professional development. Congratulations to these deserving honorees.
STAFFING LEVELS 1,721
1,700 1,600 1,500 1,400
2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
EXPLOSIVE THREE-ALARM FIRE DISPLACES DOZENS October 22 FINANCIAL DISTRICT - At 5:15PM, Firefighters responded to a major three-alarm fire that broke out on the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th floors of a 25-story high-rise building. Crews worked quickly to evacuate the lower floors and shelter residents from the fire raging above. As Fire personnel raced through the stairways to fight back flames floor by floor, containment was achieved in just 45 minutes. Seven people had to be treated for smoke inhalation and anxiety and residents from 30 apartments were displaced. The skillful and quick work of Firefighters prevented this fierce fire from spreading to additional floors. SFFD
ONE-ALARM FIRE November 20 CASTRO DISTRICT - Firefighters were dispatched to a reported one-alarm fire at 2325 Market Street between Noe and Castro Streets around 2:25PM where smoke and flames emanated from a second-floor apartment unit. Crews were able to save a cat and douse the blaze in 20 minutes while sparing any damage to three first-floor businesses. SFFD
HOUSE FIRE November 30 OUTER SUNSET - Around 3:00PM, Firefighters sprang into action at a reported fire in the rear of a two-story home in the 1500 block of 32nd Avenue. Fire Crews faced heavy smoke and flames and were able to quickly contain the fire in 15 minutes with no evacuations necessary.
Lea Suzuki/SF Chronicle
STORMY WEATHER DAMAGES SCAFFOLDING November 29 PARKSIDE - Heavy rains and 35 mph winds caused the scaffolding on the side of the two-story home on Taraval Street to give way. Firefighters arrived at the scene and removed pieces of the scaffolding that had blown over onto the street. SFFD
5% Medical Nature Unknown 5% Che 4% st P Tra ain ffi cC oll i si on
MEDICAL INCIDENTS BY TYPE Falls 8% Breathing Difficulty 9% Subject Unconscious 9%
Sick Call 15%
Other Incident 19%
WORKING FIRE STATISTICS
INCIDENT BREAKDOWN 149,191 76,511
1 ST 191
2 ND 11
3 RD 4
4 TH 1
TOP 10 BUSIEST ENGINE COMPANIES
TOP 10 BUSIEST TRUCK COMPANIES
TWO-ALARM COMMERCIAL FIRE December 9 SUNSET DISTRICT - A stubborn fire broke out at a restaurant on Irving Street between 21st and 22nd Avenues shortly before 2:00PM. Crews were able to successfully extinguish the flames that originated from a first-floor common area in about an hour. There were no injuries reported, but fire damages temporarily displaced three people living in a second-floor apartment above the restaurant.
MAN RESCUED FROM CLIFF December 10
MAN AND PET RESCUED NEAR AIRPORT December 30
FORT FUNSTON - Firefighters rescued a 19-year-old male from the side of a cliff using a stokes stretcher. A stokes stretcher is a wire basket that is utilized in search and rescue operations to transport patients through narrow corridors.
SFO - Firefighters successfully rescued a man and his pet dog after they were stuck in waist-deep mud and water near the San Francisco International Airport. Crews used an airboat to reach the man near the end of North Access Road while his dog was found shortly after. The man and dog were reported to be in good condition.
DOG RESCUED IN TWO-ALARM BLAZE December 19 POTRERO HILL - At 5:11PM, Firefighters arrived at 709 Missouri Street on reports of a house fire with people trapped inside. Fortunately, Fire Crews determined that no one was inside the burning building, but they were able to rescue one dog from the fire and Paramedics treated one injured person at the scene who suffered from smoke inhalation. The fire was under investigation and containment was achieved by 5:45PM.
FIRE STATION 35 Recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, Fire Station 35 has served the City of San Francisco for nearly 100 years. Located at Pier 22 Â˝, this station houses two of the three Department Fire Boats (the Phoenix, the Guardian, and the St. Francis). Department officials have stated improvement plans for Station 35, which has seen its share of wear and tear throughout the decades. Over the next several years, the SFFD is making arrangements to increase the size, accommodations, and capabilities of the facility by adding a floating building behind the current one. Tom Fogle
UNITED EMPLOYEES GROUP OF THE SAN FRANCISCO FIRE DEPARTMENT 2018 was a year of continuing growth for the United Employees Group (UEG) of the SFFD. Founded in 2014 over concerns with leadership and direction in the Department, the UEG includes SFResQ, United Fire Service Women, the Black Firefighters Association, the Asian Firefighters Association, Los Bomberos, the San Francisco Paramedic Firefighter Association, the San Francisco Firefighters Veterans Association, the San Francisco Fire Chief Officers Association, the San Francisco EMS Officers Association, and San Francisco Firefighters Local 798 and has continued to work as a unified organization in advocating for diversity, efficiency, and positive leadership in the SFFD. Targeted efforts to increase diversity in the SFFD began in 1987 when a United States consent decree was implemented that called for at least 40% of all new hires in the Department to come from underrepresented groups and at least 10% women. The SFFD surpassed this federal requirement with more than 60% of new hires coming from underrepresented groups and females making up 20% of personnel between 1988 and 1998. Because of this successful effort, the consent decree was terminated in 1998 and the SFFD has continued this tradition of hiring new Firefighters, Paramedics, and EMTs who represent the broad diversity of the City that we serve. In 2018, representatives of the different associations that make up the UEG were present during labor negotiations for a new contract for our Firefighters and Paramedics. It is critical to have diverse representation sitting at the table when key decisions are being made. In San Francisco, we are proud to have the most diverse fire department in the country serving the people of our City 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The City and County of San Francisco leads the way in embracing cultural and lifestyle diversity in a thriving economic engine. The UEG is reflective of the city it serves and has something to offer everyone in the SFFD workforce.
As part of California’s Fire Service and Rescue Mutual Aid System-Region II, the SFFD deploys multiple strike teams and resources to help contain massive fires that have become all too common across our state. The 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and most destructive on record in California, with a total of 8,527 fires scorching an area of 1,893,913 acres, the largest amount of burned acreage recorded in a fire season. The fires caused more than $3.5 billion in damages, including $1.792 billion in fire suppression costs. Tragically, the lives of 98 civilians and six Firefighters were claimed during the 2018 California wildfire season.
CARR FIRE July 23 – August 30
MENDOCINO COMPLEX FIRE July 27 – September 18
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - The Carr Fire was a massive wildfire that burned 229,651 acres in Shasta and Trinity Counties. The fire was started when a flat tire on a vehicle caused the wheel’s rim to scrape against the asphalt, creating sparks that ignited the blaze. The Carr Fire destroyed 1,079 residences, 22 commercial structures, and 503 outbuildings, while damaging another 190 residences, 26 commercial structures, and 63 outbuildings. At its peak, there were as many as 4,766 personnel deployed from multiple agencies to battle the inferno. Tragically, eight people died in the fire, including three Firefighters.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - SFFD’s Engine 15 and Engine 9 were part of the Task Force sent to fire-ravaged areas of the Ranch and River Fires that burned in Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, and Glenn Counties, which are collectively called the Mendocino Complex Fire. The Mendocino Complex Fire charred more than 459,000 acres, becoming the largest complex fire in the state’s history, with the Complex’s Ranch Fire surpassing the 2017 Thomas Fire and the Santiago Canyon Fire of 1889 to become California's single-largest recorded wildfire. The fires collectively destroyed 280 structures while damaging 37 others, causing at least $267 million in damages, including $201 million in fire suppression costs. Sadly, one Firefighter was killed and four others were injured.
Draper Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett
FIREFIGHTER & K9 DUO PART OF HURRICANE LANE RESCUE EFFORTS August 23 HAWAII - San Francisco Firefighter Martinez and K9 Fritz were part of a 36-member team deployed to Hawaii ahead of Hurricane Lane’s arrival onshore. FEMA Task Force 3 was deployed to the island of Oahu to work with the Hawaii Fire Department and other local agencies and was later sent to assist the US Coast Guard in Hilo with aid preparation efforts as well as to survey damage to roads and other infrastructure. The Task Force brought over 40,000 pounds of equipment to the region and were an instrumental part of the overall disaster preparation and search and rescue operational unit for FEMA.
CAMP FIRE November 8 – November 25
WOOLSEY FIRE November 8 – November 21
BUTTE COUNTY - San Francisco Firefighters were part of multiple Strike Teams sent to fight the Camp Fire, which was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history to date. Named after its place of origin, Camp Creek Road, the fire caused at least 86 civilian fatalities and injured 12 civilians, three professional Firefighters, and two prison inmate Firefighters. It covered an area of 153,336 acres and destroyed 18,804 structures before reaching 100% containment after 17 days.
SANTA SUSANA MOUNTAINS - Over 3,200 Firefighters from all over California were deployed to one of the most devastating fires in state history. The Woolsey Fire started on the Santa Susana Field Laboratory property and quickly spread southward fueled by Santa Ana winds that pushed the flames into densely populated neighborhoods in Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and Los Angeles City. As Air and Ground crews responded, roads along the Ventura Freeway were closed, and thousands of residents were evacuated. It was reported that nearly 97,000 acres burned, over 1,600 buildings were destroyed, and five injuries occurred, including three Firefighters. Sadly, the Woolsey Fire claimed the lives of three victims.
HILL FIRE November 8 VENTURA COUNTY - San Francisco Firefighters were deployed to Southern California to help contain the Hill Fire and perform search and rescue operations. This blaze broke out around 2:00PM at Hill Canyon Road just before the Woolsey Fire began to grow out of control nearby. The fire burned in the Santa Rosa Valley, prompting evacuations. The Hill Fire scorched 4,531 acres, destroyed four homes, and damaged two other structures.
SAN FRANCISCO FIREFIGHTERS The San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation (SFFCPF), founded in 2006 by Tony Stefani, was formed for the purpose of early detection and prevention of cancer in both active and retired members of the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD). Firefighters are at a significantly greater risk than the general public of developing certain cancers and more than 300 San Francisco active and retired Firefighters have died from various types of this disease since the SFFCPF was founded. This volunteer-based nonprofit has grown to become a leading organization for the early detection, treatment, and support of Firefighters with cancer. At any given time, numerous active and retired members of the Department being treated for various types of cancer receive assistance from the SFFCPF. The SFFCPF offers early detection screenings and has helped many Firefighters catch various forms of cancer while they can still be treated. The SFFCPF has also been directly involved in legislation and advocacy efforts, including implementing Cancer Presumption legislation, overhauling the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the banning of flame retardant chemicals.
THE 2018 IAFF AFFILIATE LEADERSHIP TRAINING & CANCER SUMMIT Local 798 Executive Board Members attended the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) 2018 Vincent J. Bollon Affiliate Leadership Training Summit/Ernest A. "Buddy" Mass Human Relations Conference and Cancer Summit. Our members participated in a wide variety of educational workshops geared toward providing strong union leadership, improving the quality of life for Firefighters, and tackling human relations issues facing members in the firehouse, on the job, and at home. Following the Conference, the IAFF Cancer Summit covered a vast array of topics, including the science linking cancer and Firefighting, Firefighting exposures, current research on the impact of this exposure, and new research in the fight against cancer. Cancer is now the leading cause of death among Firefighters - 60% of the names on the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Wall in Colorado Springs are IAFF members who have died from occupational cancer.
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and throughout this time, United Fire Service Women helps raise awareness and funds through t-shirt sales to fight breast cancer. All of the proceeds raised are donated to charity, including the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation and Bay Area Young Survivors. Breast Cancer is a big issue of concern for the SFFD with approximately 16% of the Departmentâ€™s Firefighters being women. Of that number, 15% of female Firefighters between ages 40 and 50 years old have been diagnosed with breast cancer, which is six times the national average.
Former Local 798 President Tom O'Connor was a speaker at the Summit to share the efforts of the SFFCPF on all of their advocacy work to combat this prevalent disease in the Fire Service.
We applaud the tremendous work of the SFFCPF as we all hope for the day that no Firefighters are lost to this deadly disease.
CANCER PREVENTION FOUNDATION FIRE VELO CYCLISTS REACH FINISH LINE IN 12TH ANNUAL SF TO LA “FIRE SERVICE CANCER AWARENESS” BICYCLE RIDE Approximately 25 cyclists completed a six-day journey from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles with a purpose -to raise awareness and funds to fight cancer in the Fire Service. The riders, some of whom are also cancer survivors, are active duty or retired Firefighters from several fire departments in California.
FIREFIGHTERS DEPLOYED TO CAMP FIRE TESTED FOR TOXINS Following the deadly Northern California wildfires, The SFFCPF contributed $100,000 for researchers to take blood and urine samples from 200 Firefighters who were deployed at the fires to study the impact of their exposure to toxins. It’s important to test for any exposure to toxins as soon as possible after a fire to help keep our Firefighters educated and as safe as possible in the fight against cancer.
Over the past 12 years, the SF to LA Ride has raised more than $300,000 to support cancer prevention efforts and organizations including: • Fire Family Foundation • San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation • Firefighter Cancer Support Network • Firefighter Cancer Foundation • Retired Professional Fire Fighters Cancer Fund This year's ride was dedicated in memory of six Firefighters who recently lost their lives to jobrelated cancer, including two from the SFFD (Herman Wyrsch and Mark Groshong), one from the LACoFD, one from the Santa Cruz FD, one from Aptos/La Selva, and one from the Lompoc FD.
SAN FRANCISCO FIREFIGHTERS TOY PROGRAM CHRISTMAS IN JUNE
ANNUAL BICYCLE GIVEAWAY
Held at the Atwater Tavern and featuring live music from our Firefighter bands in addition to a Car Show, this event is a signature fundraiser that benefits the Toy Program and brings early awareness of the organization’s impact and scope.
Each year, the Toy Program holds a letter-writing contest and receives correspondence from hundreds of children with their toy requests. At the Letter Reading Party on December 13th, volunteers sorted through all of the letters and chose 300 lucky recipients to receive a brand-new helmet and bike at Bicycle Distribution Day on December 23rd. The bicycles were generously donated by the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association, the St. Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco Laborers International Union Local 261, and other anonymous donors. For this giveaway, the Toy Program was decked out in a Winter Wonderland theme featuring Santa and his elves and the San Francisco Black Firefighters Association was on hand to cook lunch for the volunteers.
CHILDREN’S TOY & BOOK FESTIVAL On December 5, 2018, the Toy Program teamed up with the San Francisco Department of Child Support Services and Mayor London Breed to present the annual Children’s Toy & Book Festival. Approximately 1,200 local school children visited City Hall to receive a new, unwrapped toy along with a book and took photos with SF Firefighters and Santa Claus.
Founded in 1949 by a handful of Firefighters, the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program is a 501(c)(3) charity that has evolved into the City's largest and the nation's oldest year-round toy program of its kind. Driven by local Firefighters, community volunteers, and businesses that donate their time and resources, each year the Toy Program distributes over 200,000 toys to Bay Area children. In addition to helping individual families in need, the Toy Program responds to displaced children and families who become victims of fires, floods, and other life-changing disasters, such as the devastating Camp Fire. Local 798 thanks everyone who continues to make the Toy Program a resounding success each and every year, especially Toy Chair Sally Casazza, Special Events Coordinator Jill Peeler, and Toy Barrel Distributions Coordinator Dee Dee Jacobs.
DELIVERING HOLIDAY CHEER TO VICTIMS OF CAMP FIRE San Francisco Firefighters loaded up toys at Toy Program Headquarters for victims of the catastrophic Camp Fire and headed out to Butte County to distribute toys to children who were displaced from their elementary school in Paradise, CA after it burned down. The devastating Camp Fire caused at least 86 civilian fatalities, injured 12 civilians and 5 Firefighters, covered more than 153,000 acres, and destroyed over 18,000 structures, including 5 public schools in Paradise. The San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) joined thousands of Firefighters battling the inferno, deploying 6 SFFD Engines and approximately 40 San Francisco Firefighters. Our Firefighters also come to the aid of fire victims through the Toy Program. San Francisco Local 798 Firefighters and Cal Fire Local 2881 Firefighters delivered toys to 315 students who previously attended Ponderosa Elementary School in Paradise. Cal Fire Local 2881 Firefighters from the Paradise Fire Department and Durham Fire Station met the San Francisco Firefighters at Durham Elementary to help distribute the toys and spread holiday cheer to the students who endured so much.
ETHNIC DOLL DRIVE One of the major campaigns of the Toy Program is to provide ethnic dolls and books that are reflective of the diverse population they serve in the City. Firefighters strive to make sure that everyone is included and represented in the toys that are available for distribution.
HONORING OUR FALLEN 32ND IAFF FALLEN FIRE FIGHTER MEMORIAL September 15
2018 CALIFORNIA FIREFIGHTERS MEMORIAL September 29
COLORADO SPRINGS - Members of the San Francisco Firefighters Honor Guard traveled to the 32nd Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial in Colorado Springs, Colorado to pay respects to the three members whose names were added to the IAFF Memorial Wall. SFFD Firefighter Jalal Aineb, Firefighter Perry Choy, and Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel were among the 271 names that are now etched into the wall as a lasting reminder of Firefighters who have died in the line of duty, and other chronic illnesses linked to the fire service such as cancer and heart disease. At the memorial ceremony, family members were given Flags of the Fallen by the Honor Guard and were joined by thousands of people from all over the United States and Canada.
SACRAMENTO - Local 798 was proud to honor fallen San Francisco Firefighters Terry Smerdel and Perry Choy at the 2018 California Firefighters Memorial on the grounds of the California State Capitol in Sacramento. These two men were a part of 37 Firefighters honored at the memorial ceremony that had their names etched into the Memorial Wall as a tribute to their dedicated service and sacrifice in the line of duty. Family members were presented with a commemorative flag and were joined by hundreds of dignitaries and fire officials from across the state of California. Our Firefighters are forever grateful for brothers Smerdel and Choy and wish their families peace and comfort.
FIREFIGHTER PERRY CHOY
BATTALION CHIEF TERRY SMERDEL
Firefighter Perry Choy passed away on August 23, 2017 as a result of a stroke at the age of 47. Perry was a graduate of Washington High School and San Francisco State University and proudly served in the SFFD for 20 years. He leaves behind his partner, Aletha, and their baby, Jeremy.
Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel passed away on September 10, 2017 at the age of 59 while on duty at Battalion 1. He was a 26-year veteran of the SFFD and provided aid during the September 11th terrorist attack in New York. When he entered the fire department, following in his fatherâ€™s and brotherâ€™s footsteps, he embarked on a 26-year long journey of service. He spent the majority of his career at Station 17, then as Captain of Truck 2 in Chinatown, and lastly at Station 15. He is survived by his wife, Cyndy, and his two children, Danica and Jack.
FIREFIGHTER JALAL AINEB Firefighter Jalal Aineb passed away from stomach cancer at the age of 54. Brother Aineb was a Moroccan immigrant who served as a San Francisco Firefighter for 12 years. Tragically, Jalal's passing left behind his beloved wife and two young children.
LAST ALARM ACTIVE MEMBERS MICHAEL KIRK November 27
STEVEN WILLIAM PACATTE December 12
EMS Captain Michael Kirk passed away following a courageous battle with cancer. Captain Kirk joined the Department in August 2002, served at the Airport Division for many years, and was assigned as a Captain to the Division of Emergency Communications. Mike is survived by his wife, Susan, and his sons, Andrew and Brody.
Firefighter Steven William Pacatte, age 34, passed away as a result of a car crash near the City of Santa Rosa as he was driving in to work. Firefighter Pacatte joined the SFFD in 2016 and had previously worked for the Tiburon Fire Protection District as a seasonal Firefighter for Marin County. He left behind a fiancée, who was pregnant with the couple’s first child at the time.
RETIRED MEMBERS STEVE SANTAMARIA January 3
MICHAEL RICE March 3
GARRETT GRIFFIN April 22
RAYMOND BACKSTEDT July 28
LYNNETTE DREYER-MCALVAIN October 23
GEORGE PAYNE November 29
WILLIAM CORRELL January 6
MARK GROSHONG March 21
ANTHONY BRANCHCOMB April 24
JAMES O’LOONEY August 21
ALBERT WAIGHT October 30
TED SUTTER December 10
JAMES O'CONNOR January 13
LEONARD MEISWINKEL March 23
EUGENE ANDERSON April 25
WILLIAM DISBURY August 23
SIDNEY TAYLOR, JR. October 31
GEORGE CROWDER December 13
HERMAN WYRSCH February 14
RICH GIL March 27
JOSEPH MCCARTHY June 5
CHARLES FARRELL September 12
MATTHEW PLESCIA November 5
ROBERT VANDIS December 16
GUY MARKELL February 27
WILLIAM DERHAM April 13
VINCENT JONES, JR. June 28
ROBERT QUIGLEY October 9
ARISTON ARMADA, JR. November 22
RECOGNITION San Francisco Firefighters Local 798 would like to recognize and express our gratitude to all of the contributors who make this publication possible, especially the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Fire Department.
CONTRIBUTORS Jonathan Baxter
Russell Yip San Francisco Fire Department SF Recreation and Park Department United Fire Service Women
IN APPRECIATION PAST PRESIDENT TOM O‘CONNOR
DIRECTOR ADAM WOOD
The San Francisco Firefighters Local 798 Executive Board thanks and salutes Past President Tom O‘Connor for more than 20 years of dedicated service to Local 798 and his 26 years with the SFFD. Tom worked tirelessly on behalf of our Firefighters, Paramedics, and EMT officers and he has left a legacy with Local 798 that will go unmatched over the years. His tenure on the Local 798 Board included advancing the efforts of the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, making great strides to raise awareness and funds to prevent and fight cancer in the fire service. He is credited for making progress in Firefighter safety, leading a union that reflects the diversity of our department and our City, and being at the forefront of political action to promote our issues and public safety in San Francisco as a top priority. Thank you, Tom O'Connor!
Local 798 acknowledges outgoing Director Adam Wood who is recognized as a well-respected labor leader throughout the region for his efforts to better the working conditions and employment for current and future generations of San Francisco Firefighters, Paramedics, and EMTs. Adam was previously distinguished as the “San Francisco Firefighter of the Year” and founded the Bay Area Fire Fighters Network (BAFFN) to share best practices among Locals for the betterment of the professional fire service. We are forever grateful for his six years of service to Local 798 and 24 years in the Department. While Adam will continue his work in the SFFD and with BAFFN, we will sincerely miss him and his service on the Executive Board of San Francisco Firefighters Local 798.
SAN FRANCISCO FIREFIGHTERS IAFF LOCAL 798 EXECUTIVE BOARD President Shon Buford Secretary Floyd Rollins II
Treasurer Tom Fogle
Director Stephen Giacalone
Director Tim Finch
Vice-President Danny Gracia
Director Dan Casey
Director Adrienne Sims
Director Huck Ramsey
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