Second SF Firefighter Hose Accident Under Investigation

5 mins read

On Monday, San Francisco firefighter Matthew Vann got knocked out by a firehouse as a Muni bus drove into it. According to investigation reports, the event caused the fire hose to send Vann flying in the air,  causing the six-year firefighter to land headfirst on the ground. The incident took place on Monday after firefighters attempted to extinguish an electrical fire near Spear and Market.

Further inspection on the scene went underway to uncover the reasons for a Muni bus driving over a pipe. San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Lt. Jonathan Baxter gave updates on the investigation.

“A Muni bus drove through the operating area on Spear Street,” said Lt. Baxter. “Simultaneously, a water supply line, or hose, was thrown upward into the air,” he added.

There were no confirmations made by officers regarding SFPD or parking control agents to divert away passing vehicles from the fire scene. As of Tuesday, Vann’s condition from the incident remains critical. 

The police revealed that they are still searching for answers to several questions that they have on the occurrence. Baxter also inquires about the presence of water in the hose before the incident happened.

“Was it flat?” questioned Baxter. Either way, we shouldn’t be driving over a hose. “Once the hose gets driven over, it will be subject to further investigation,” he added.

The Muni bus’ driver has reportedly been with Muni for five years. However, due to the incident, his driving status got removed, and has a drug test scheduled as standard policy.

The state’s workplace safety agency spokesman Frank Polizzi issued an official statement on the issue.

“Cal/OSHA has opened an inspection to determine the cause of the incident and identify any violations of workplace safety and health regulation,” the statement reads.

The previously mentioned incident isn’t the first time that firefighters got harmed by a fire hose. In October of this year, another San Francisco firefighter got knocked by a supply valve’s water blast and fell to death. 

According to the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit’s prior statement, the said firefighter “inadvertently” opened the valve during a training drill leading to his untimely demise. Furthermore, the report noted that COVID-19 department-wide measures most likely contributed to the victim’s death. They identified the deceased firefighter as Jason Cortez.

The report also details the events that happened before the accident.  According to the account, four firefighters participated in a “pump drill” activity intended for rookies at a training tower facility at 19th and Folsom street at 10:07 a.m. withing the same day. During the instruction, Cortez “inadvertently” opened a valve meant to drain the system.

“The stream of water coming from the valve struck him in the chest,” the report reads, adding, “Knocking him backward into the fire escape railing, causing him to fall backward off the fire escape.” 

Additionally, the report disclosed that the bursts of water spilled as much as 100 pounds per square inch pressure.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation’s executive director Ron Siarnicki advises everyone to make sure their hoses are off to prevent such accidents from happening again.

“If you’ve ever had your garden hose turned on, with nobody holding it, you’ll see it dance around like a snake,” said Siarnicki. “Those are threatening pieces. There’s pressure, the potential for failure, and unfortunately, people do get hurt from those incidents,” he added.

Adding up to the hose incidents, a posted online video from a fire incident in Pennsylvania reveals a car driving over a hose, harming a firefighter by knocking him off the ground and falling hard from several feet upward. Another firefighter from the scene also got hurt from the impact.