Teams from Forest Grove, Cornelius join 1,311 other competitors to raise money for leukemia research at Seattle stairclimb competition

Forest Grove and Cornelius firefighters raised nearly $3,000 for leukemia research at the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb in Seattle on March 2.

The event is the largest firefighter fundraiser and competition. This year, event organizers said that 180 departments climbed the 69 flights of stairs at the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle, the second tallest building west of the Mississippi.

Steve Black, spokesman for the Cornelius Fire Department, said that the event was good fun and that the Cornelius team is already planning to head back next year.

'Our team did an outstanding job and have already picked our goal times for next year,' Black said.

Black, one of the last to finish last year, improved his time by 19 minutes to finish the course with full gear in 29:12. Other team members completed the climb with the following times: Phil Duncan: 20:13; Robert Conrath: 20:33; Derek Cardelli: 23:33; John Phelan: 25:14; and Kara Stevens: 33:21.

For their efforts, the team raised $1,300 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Forest Grove Fire and Rescue's team has so far raised $1,500.

Forest Grove fire intern Chad Bettencourt finished 62 out of 1311 competitors and ranked 8th in his age division (men, 20 to 24) with a time of 15:13.

Firefighter Mindy Ingebretson finished first in her age division (women, 20 to 24) clocking in at 27:15.

Firefighter Joe Olson cut 11 minutes off his time from last year (which was his first year up) and was able to complete the event in 35 minutes 47 seconds.

'All 11 members of the team were able to finish the event with the support of one other firefighter who changed air bottles for them on the 40th floor,' said Dave Nemeyer, Forest Grove Fire and Rescue spokesman.

Forest Grove firefighters will be taking donations for the cause through the end of March. Click here to donate.

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