Fire fighters ‘fit’ for competition

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Three Pictou County fire fighters can be proud of their performances in the Scott Firefit Challenge hosted by Cobequid Fire last weekend.

Westville training officer Bill Chace finished with a time of 4:29.11 and Westville fire fighter Shaun MacLaughlin finished in a time of 4;17:39 while Stellarton’s Nathan Smith came just short of finishing.

Chace said his tank was “physically empty when I hit the mat at the end of the track.”

The regional competition for fire fighters saw participants from across North America converge on Truro to compete in what may very well may be the toughest two minutes in sports. The Challenge travels the country in a series of regional events which serve as qualifiers for the national event in BC. It is an obstacle course-type of event made up of several firefighter tasks.

Firefit has been run for 26 years by former Vancouver firefighter Dale McRoberts. Each local event begins with firefighters dressed in full protective residential firefighting gear, which weighs approximately 50 pounds. The obstacle course begins from there and includes the use of fire fighting hose, rope, ladders, sledge hammer, a 175 pound rescue dummy and water from a charged line. All of this is done with the goal of being finished all of the tasks in around 120 seconds for some firefighters.

“Well, I can kick that off of my bucket list. The FireFit was hard as hell,” Chace said after the race.

“Physically the hardest thing I have ever done. Going into it I had set no time goal; I simply wanted to cross the finish line and I achieved it… barely. In the weeks leading up to it I felt confident but ascending the tower worried me. I felt if I could ascend the tower, I’d be OK with the rest. I was wrong. The tower was the easy part and I was gassed at the top, I knew I was in trouble,” MacLaughlin said.

“Hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Been a day of reflection and mixed emotions. I am physically drained,” Smith said. However, he is still looking forward to next year’s event to compete again.

The event took place at the Truro Mall parking lot with opening ceremonies and individual races on Saturday and team event on Sunday. The event was free for spectators and was well attended. The Amherst Fire Department is slated to host next year’s event.

Shaun MacLaughlin pulling the rescue dummy. (Brian Cameron photo)