San Antonio firefighter dies after being hit by van in the line of duty

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – A San Antonio firefighter has died of injuries suffered when he was hit by a van after falling off a fire truck. He and his fellow firefighters were checking out a report of smoke at Comfort Suites on Live Oak just east of downtown Tuesday morning when the accident occurred.

Forty-nine-year-old Greg Garza, a 17-year-veteran of the San Antonio Fire Department, was retrieving some equipment from the apparatus. He apparently stumbled or tripped and fell off the fire truck before he was hit by a van. Garza was rushed to San Antonio Military Medical Center where he died.

“On this day, this department is suffering one of its worst days,” said Fire Chief Charles Hood. “I ask the community and the citizens for your prayers for my folks who are really hurting right now. We’ll continue to do what we need to do to take care of each and every one of you.”

Hood said he was stunned be the news.

“There are days when we are rescuing people out of creeks, pulling people out of fires, standing on dangerous freeways, going in a violent residence, and we get a firefighter killed that stumbled off a truck in just a sheer accident,” said Hood.

He said he had a special relationship with Garza and was with the family at the hospital after the accident.

“I never saw him in a bad mood. Always saw him smiling, always happy to have this career,” said Hood.

Garza’s mother told him her son loved being a firefighter.

“Greg Garza died doing something he loved, and you have to love this job to do it. He was amazing,” Hood said, fighting back tears.

Hood was surrounded by Mayor Ron Nirenberg, City Manager Erik Walsh, members of the San Antonio City Council, San Antonio Firefighters Association head Chris Steele and several firefighters.

“At this time we do ask for your prayers for the entire fire department family,” said Nirenberg.

He asked that flags be flown at half staff in honor of Garza.

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