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Firefighters step up to the challenge

Boring firefighters climb nearly 800 feet to the top of Seattle tower


Nine Boring firefighters traveled to Seattle to compete in the annual affair that has grown men donning nearly 100 pounds of gear and running up stairs for nearly 70 floors.

If that doesn’t get their hearts pumping, they can walk down and try it again — although not many want to look at another staircase after that event.

The Scott Firefighter Stairclimb supports the mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and raises money through sponsorship, individual and department fundraising as well as through entry fees.

Last year, the event attracted more than 1,500 firefighters from nearly 300 fire departments from three countries. That year, the fundraising brought in a record $1.2 million for blood cancer research and patient services.

This year (Sunday, March 10), there were about 1,550 firefighters from more than 200 fire departments across the Pacific Northwest and more distant areas competing in a timed race to the top of the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle.

The competition required them to wear their turnouts and carry the rest of their firefighter combat gear along with a self-contained breathing apparatus.

This unique event is the largest individual firefighter competition in the world, said a spokesperson for the Boring Fire Department.

At 788 feet of vertical elevation, the Columbia Center (formerly the Bank of America Tower) in downtown Seattle stands as the second tallest building west of the Mississippi River.

To reach the amazing views from the observation deck overlooking the city, firefighters must ascend 69 flights of stairs, which requires stepping up onto 1,311 stair steps before reaching the top.

When the Boring firefighters traveled to Seattle to participate in this event, some were motivated by the opportunity to help fight cancer, said a Boring Fire spokesperson, while others were challenged to put their training and fitness to the test and for others it was personal.

Awards were given to the fastest climbers and to the top fundraisers.

The nine-member team from Boring raised $3,354 for cancer research and achieved the time goals they had set for themselves in the climb.

All Boring participants reached the top of the Columbia Center, and achieved the following times:

• Robert Aberle finished in 257th place, with a time of 17 minutes, 19 seconds.

• Ted Pentecost, 356th place, 18:09.

• Shane Thomas, 360th place, 18:11.

• Tyson Guillory, 489th place, 19:14.

• J.R. Cox, 495th place, 19:18.

• Sandor Pongracz, 516th place, 19:28.

• Steve Edwards, 520th place, 19:31.

• Dave Doornink, 857th place, 22:13.

• Tony Funk, 1,252nd place, 30:22.



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