Jeff Humphrey

Firefighters Climb for Cancer Cure

Jeff Humphrey, Media Content Coordinator, 509.625.6308

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at 3:46 p.m.

If a fire started in a Spokane high-rise, chances are pretty good the elevators would stop working.

That means fire crews would have to use the stairs to reach the flames; a job made a lot tougher by hauling up all the equipment they would use to fight the fire.

Spokane area firefighters routinely climb the stairwells inside the Bank of America building to make sure they’re up to the task.

“As firefighters, conditioning is something we all have to stay on top of and just for that reason. We’re here to do a job and it’s hard for us to do the job, if we’re not in shape,” explained Lt. Chris Wetherell of the Spokane International Airport Fire Department.

Now firefighters are taking one of their job performance requirements to a new level, climbing stairs to help save lives from cancer.

Firefighters from Local 29 are staging several fundraisers during this month, hopping aboard a Stairmaster and accepting pledges and donations for their cause.

 “This whole event is about raising money for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society and climbing the Columbia Center tower in Seattle March 11th,” Wetherell said.

On Monday, firefighters set out to climb the equivalent of two thousand flights of stairs at Spokane International. They reached their goal, ahead of schedule, wearing turnouts and air tanks on their backs.

“All the weight is there, plus the heat factor. One thing that you don’t see is how hot it is with the gear on,” lamented the lieutenant.

The stair climbing event, near the TSA checkpoint, seemed to draw a lot of empathy from early morning travelers. Some of them recalling what happened to firefighters back on 9-11.

“Our passengers here at the airport have been really responsive and we’re really fortunate that the airport has let us set up shop here and raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” Wetherell said thankfully.

“Our next fundraiser will be Saturday, February 10th at  Riverpark Square from 12-5. We’ll have the same stair climber down there and again, Wednesday February 21rst at O’Doherty’s downtown from 4-7. We’ll be climbing stairs as usual and we’ll be looking to raise up some more money,” the lieutenant said hopefully.

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