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Sonoma Firefighters to Attend San Francisco Funeral of Fallen Firefighters

Four men will man Sonoma's engine; Two San Francisco firefighters died in blaze in the Diamond Heights section.

The will be represented at the Friday funeral for two San Francisco firefighters who died in the line of duty last week.

Spencer Andreis, division chief for the Sonoma Valley Fire Department, said the department is sending one engine manned by four off-duty firefighters to the 12:30 p.m. event.

“They’re not on duty, they’re just doing it all on their own time,” said Andreis.

Firefighters from Sonoma County will meet up at the Rancho Adobe Fire Protection District in Pengrove, CA to ride to the event en mass.

San Francisco Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said at least 6,000 people are expected to attend the services for Lt. Vincent Perez, 48, and firefighter-paramedic Anthony Valerio, 53, who died from injuries they suffered while battling a fire at a home at 133 Berkeley Way on June 2.

Perez died later that day and Valerio succumbed to his injuries on Saturday morning.

A vigil will be held for the two men at 7 p.m. today at St. Mary's  Cathedral at 1111 Gough St., and a joint funeral is planned for 12:30 p.m. Friday, also at St. Mary's.

After the funeral, the men will be buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma. Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, Mayor Ed Lee, and Bill Storti, the captain of Fire Station 26 where the two men worked, will be among the speakers at the funeral, as will Perez's brother and one of Valerio's  longtime ambulance partners, according to Talmadge.

The funeral is expected to bring firefighters from as far south as  Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as members of dozens of fire departments in the Bay Area and elsewhere in Northern California, Talmadge said.

"The fire department is overwhelmed with the love and support that  we've been receiving from our brothers and sisters in the fire service and  the public," she said. "Everyone has just been amazingly gracious."

Perez and Valerio were badly burned when objects in a room of the  house apparently heated to the point of ignition, a dangerous phenomenon  known as a "flashover," Talmadge said.

A female firefighter suffered smoke inhalation and minor burns.  She was treated at the hospital and released later that day.

Talmadge said the initial fire that day appears to have been  sparked by something electrical, but its exact cause remains under  investigation.

The Police Department today released details about street closures  planned from about 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday to make way for the funeral  and procession to the cemetery.

Westbound Geary Boulevard will be closed from Gough Street to  Webster Street, and eastbound lanes will be shut down from Divisadero Street to Gough Street.
Northbound Webster Street will be blocked from Geary Boulevard to  Ellis Street, and there will be partial lane closures on Gough Street between  Geary Boulevard and Ellis Street.

After the funeral, a procession more than 200 fire trucks will  travel south on Gough Street, then head west on Market Street, south on Valencia Street, west on 15th Street, south on Dolores Street and merge onto San Jose Avenue, police said.

From San Jose Avenue, the procession will enter southbound Interstate Highway 280 and exit at Serramonte Boulevard, then turn onto Collins Road, then head onto El Camino Real where it will end at the cemetery.

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.

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

-Bay City News contributed to this report

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