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2nd San Francisco Firefighter Dies After Diamond Heights Fire

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The chief of San Francisco's fire department said a second firefighter who suffered serious burns in a house fire last week has died.

>>Photo Gallery: Fallen San Francisco Firefighter

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White confirmed his death at a news conference Saturday morning at San Francisco General Hospital where she was surrounded by Valerio's family members including his mother, father and six siblings.

Valerio grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from El Camino High  School, City College of San Francisco, and San Francisco State University.

He spent 13 years with the city's Department of Public Health and  14 years with the fire department.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

Mayor Ed Lee and Police Chief Greg Suhr were on hand at the somber, rainy gathering where over 100 firefighters in uniform were in attendance.

Valerio survived for about 40 hours after being severely burned while responding to a house fire in Diamond Heights on Thursday.

Valerio and fellow firefighter Lt. Vincent Perez were battling the blaze Thursday at the four-story home at 133 Berkeley Way when they were overcome by a "flashover."

A "flashover" is a surge of searing flame when everything in a room ignites at once.

The pair were rushed to San Francisco General Hospital in critical condition. Perez died Thursday after going into cardiac arrests.

Valerio and Perez were the first San Francisco firefighters killed in the line of duty in nearly a decade.

KCBS' Mark Seelig Reports:

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee said in a statement he was "deeply saddened" by the deaths and called the loss a "terrible tragedy" for the city.

"These two men have dedicated their lives to protecting the people ofSan Franciscofor decades," Lee said.

He added that the deaths of Valerio and Perez were a reminder of the sacrifices firefighters and their family and friends make.

"We are forever appreciative for the brave men and women of the San Francisco Fire Department who put their lives on the line every day for us," he said.

Valerio's body was taken to the medical examiner's office as funeral arrangements are being made.

On Thursday, Lee ordered that all flags at city-owned sites be flown at half-staff in honor of the firefighters, while Gov. Jerry Brown ordered the same for flags at the state Capitol in Sacramento.

San Jose firefighters also lowered their flags to show solidarity with the San Francisco Fire Department, San Jose fire Capt. Scott Kouns said.

The San Francisco firefighters union has established trust accounts for the Perez and Valerio families at the San Francisco Fire Credit Union. Donations can be sent to the credit union at 3201 California St., San Francisco, 94118.

Funeral services for the men are pending.

Condolence messages can be sent to Fire Station 26, 80 Digby St., San Francisco, 94131.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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