2 firefighters still hospitalized

February 6, 2009 7:32:35 PM PST
Two San Francisco firefighters severely injured after a roof collapsed during a three-alarm fire early Thursday at a vacant home in the city's Portola District remained hospitalized this morning.

One of the firefighters, Christopher Posey, a firefighter and paramedic, and an 11-year veteran of the department, suffered life-threatening injuries to his respiratory system, according to the fire department. He remains in intensive care at San Francisco General Hospital.

A second firefighter, Lt. James App, an eight-year veteran, suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns.

App is expected to be released from the burn center at St. Francis Hospital within a few days, officials said.

A total of six firefighters were injured fighting the blaze that broke out at about 12:30 a.m. Thursday at a two-story home at 627 Felton St. The fire, which gutted the home, was brought under control about an hour later.

"We are so moved by the outpouring of support that we are receiving from the public" for the injured firefighters, fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said today in a statement released by the department. "This kind of response means so much to their immediate families and to our fire department family."

"Chris and Jim are very dedicated firefighters and they are loved and respected by the members of this department," said Hayes-White. "We ask that you continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers."

"This is a difficult time for all of us," she said.

The other four firefighters were treated for injuries including burns, respiratory problems and a broken ankle and released, fire department spokeswoman Lt. Mindy Talmadge said Thursday.

None of the firefighters were actually hit by the roof, but the collapse sent a sudden burst of heat down a hallway, which caused the injuries, Fire Chief of Operations Patrick Gardner said. More than 100 firefighters helped battle the flames.

There was no immediate update today on the possible cause of the fire.