One firefighter died and several others were injured while trying to contain a fire which was reported from the 100 block of Berkeley Way, Diamond Heights neighborhood in San Francisco.

This is the first time a death of an on-duty firefighter was reported since January 2003.

Patty Stanton, who lives two doors down from the home that burned, said when she came out to walk her dog on Thursday morning, she saw white smoke coming out from her neighbor's garage. Later three women ran out of the house. By the time the firefighters arrived, the smoke had turned to black.

Fire department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said firefighters saw a flash come from inside the house. Around that time, a firefighter in the house activated an emergency alarm. A dispatcher got the alert and notified the incident commander, who tried to reach the firefighter by radio but was unable to. Additional crew members were sent in and they found two firefighters down and pretty badly burned. The third injured firefighter was able to exit the house without help, Talmadge said.

Three firefighters were hurt while fighting the fire. All three were taken to San Francisco General Hospital. Hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said a male firefighter had succumbed to his injuries. A second male firefighter is still in critical condition, and the third firefighter, a female, is out of danger.