Seven firefighters from Snohomish County Fire District 7 will participate in this year’s Firefighter Stairclimb Challenge, which takes place at the Columbia Tower in downtown Seattle this weekend.
This year, firefighters Ronda Carlson, Michael Crockett, Bill Ekse, David Swearingen, Jeff Thompson, Jeremy Yoder and Filmore Norris will represent District 7 in the event, which takes place Sunday, March 4. In full bunker gear including heavy pants and coat, boots, face mask and an air tank, each step up the 69 floors counts.
“Physical fitness is always important as firefighters, and this event definitely tests physically and mentally,” said Carlson, who is participating in the event for the eighth time. “It’s a great challenge for us to compete against other firefighters and our previous race times. But the important thing about the event is that so many firefighters are joining together to support this cause.”
Along with training for the event, Carlson, Crockett, Ekse, Swearingen, Thompson, Yoder and Norris are also working hard to gather pledges. Last year, Ekse was the event’s top individual fundraiser, raising more than $14,000. Ekse and his teammates are hoping to match this amount in pledges again this year to help in the fight against blood diseases.
The annual event raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The event draws more than 1,100 firefighters from 15 states. Last year’s event raised $335,000 for the nonprofit foundation.
District 7 firefighters have participated in the event since its inception in 1993.