Sky's the limit for firefighters

South Canterbury fire crews will battle it out for top spot in the Sky Tower Stair Challenge.

Crews from Timaru/Washdyke, Waimate, Geraldine and Fairlie will compete in the annual event at the Auckland Sky Tower tomorrow. Each firefighter has to race up 51 flights of stairs while wearing up to 25 kilograms of kit.

Their efforts will help raise funds for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.

Organisers agree this year's competition looks "fierce, with Josh Harrison, from the Otara station, hoping to defend his three-year winning streak".

Harrison has had the fastest time every year since 2011 and is determined to beat his record of 8min 37sec to claim the event's 10th anniversary title.

In 2005, 88 firefighters helped raise just over $17,000. This year, more than 180 brigades from across the country will compete, alongside firefighters from Australia and the United States, including Hawaii.

Temuka Volunteer Fire Brigade members competed last year, raising $8401, but have not signed up for this year's event because of injury and work commitments.

Waimate firefighters, though, are frantically raising funds. So far, Team Waimos has raised almost $16,000 via activities such as a community raffle and cheese-roll sales. Each member of the six-strong team will wear a helmet designed by pupils from six schools: Waimate Main, Waituna Creek, Centennial, Waimate High, St Patrick's, and Waihao Downs.

To find out how to support your local brigade visit:

The Timaru Herald