Firefighters tackle tower's 1103 steps

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 19/05/2014
waimate firefighters
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SUITED UP: Waimate firefighters take on the Auckland Skytower challenge.

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Timaru, Washdyke, Waimate, Fairlie and Geraldine volunteer firefighters were among 140 brigade members sweating and panting their way up 1103 steps to reach the top of the Sky Tower in Auckland yesterday for charity.

A total of $866,000 was raised in the 10th annual Firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge, which saw 700 firefighters scale the 51 flights of stairs wearing full fire-fighting gear weighing 25kg. Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand is the beneficiary this year.

The teams have been training for months and it paid off.

Waimate Fire Brigade senior firefighter Mark Joyce said his team of six found it quite hard and hot.

"The first 24 flights were tough but it got easier after that," he said.

Waimate raised $17,168 for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.

Helmets worn during the event by the Waimate team were each designed by pupils from Waimate Main, Waituna Creek, Waimate High School, St Patrick's and Waihao Downs schools.

A team of three from Geraldine raised $7870 after competing in the challenge for the first time. Firefighter Graeme Dwyer said they had been training since February using the staircase at Fonterra. He said they planned to compete again next year.

"It's partly what the Fire Service is about helping people," he said. He completed the challenge in 15 minutes.

The Herald understands Josh Harrison from the Otara fire station, who won last year, successfully defended his title this year with an 8min 36 second trek.

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- The Timaru Herald

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