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Trauma Surgeon Describes SF Firefighters' Injuries

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The complexity of the multiple injuries suffered by two San Francisco firefighters ultimately took their lives, that according to the trauma surgeon in charge of their treatment.

Vincent Perez and Anthony Valerio were both killed after responding to a fire on Berkeley Way in the Diamond Heights neighborhood of San Francisco on Thursday morning.

San Francisco General Hospital's Dr. Andre Campbell said most people think about skin burns from a blast injury, but a "blast wave" does far more internal and external damage.

"Things can fall on them or they can be thrown. There are multiple different layers that affect the body after an injury like this," said Campbell.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

As a result, he said each organ comes under attack due to the trauma. Doctors and nurses work to keep the organs working, making adjustments as needed.

"Over a period of time, each one of these things takes its toll on the brain, the heart, the lungs, the circulatory system and the kidneys," Campbell said.

San Francisco Fire Lieutenant Vincent Perez died of cardiac arrest shortly after arriving at the hospital following Thursday's house fire.

And after 40 hours of a minute by minute fight for life, fellow firefighter Anthony Valerio succumbed to his injuries early Saturday morning.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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