Ultimate Fun Firefighter Challenge blazes through Oldcastle

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FireFighter-Challengeby Adam Gault

Representatives of the Tecumseh Fire Rescue Service hosted the Ultimate Fun Firefighter Challenge exhibition at their station in Oldcastle on Saturday.

The event was hosted in a charitable partnership with the “All 4 Mamas” non-profit organization as a way to showcase the competitive firefighting sport know as “Firefighter Combat Challenge.” It was open to members of the various Fire Departments from around Essex County, as well as firefighting students from St. Clair College.

The Ultimate Fun Firefighter Challenge was designed as a way to showcase the various skills that are required to become a firefighter, and as a way to promote physical fitness in a friendly, competitive environment.

Dan Redmond, a Tecumseh Firefighter and veteran of the Firefighter Combat Challenge, said he hoped the event would be a positive way to introduce people to the sport in an up-close and personal way.

The challenge consists of five physically demanding firefighting activities intended to simulate real fire ground operations and has been described as the toughest two minutes in sports.

Competitors (in full equipment) begin by lifting an approximately 42-pound fire hose over their shoulder and carrying it to the top of a four-story tower staircase. Once they reach the top, they must pull a rope hanging from the side of the structure up to their platform that has a second 42-pound bundle of fire hose attached at the bottom.

Upon successful completion, they must then descent the tower, making sure to touch every step on the way down. Here, they encountered a “forcible entry” simulation where they must drive a 165-pound steel beam a distance of five feet along a track using a sledgehammer.

The individual then races to the opposite end of the course, weaving between the cones laid on the pavement. They then pick up the nozzle end of a charged fire horse and carry it back across the course through a pair a saloon doors, where they must hit a target with the water stream.

Wracked with tremendous exhaustion, they must then drag a 175-pound mannequin backwards a distance of 100 feet across the finish line in order to successfully complete the challenge.

The event more than lived up to its moniker, as could be read in the drained, but accomplished faces of many of the competitors.