Firefighters over 40 aiming for 3rd championship

Firefighters have to train continually to make sure they're in top shape to stop fires and rescue people at any moment.  But, there training isn't just for emergencies.  The Altus Fire Department is training right now for the Regional Firefighter Challenge Competition in Tyler, Texas.  This is the ninth year in a row the unit has competed and they are aiming to win.  The forty and over team has been training hard to gain a third victory and move on to the nationals and then on to the world championships.

"We're former world Champions and we're on a goal to try and win that thing again," said Assistant Fire Chief Jimmy Rogers.  It takes a lot of practice to reach such a physical goal as it is, but a third?  Assistant Fire Chief Jimmy Rogers says they just returned from a competition in Denver with their "Over 40" team.  They didn't place first, but it's still quite an accomplishment.  "We competed with the Open division, which are guys 20 years old and so and there were 16 teams and we placed 2nd," he said.  It's a grueling challenge of strength, speed and agility and all this training is usually on their day off.  "It all comes down to hard work and what you put into it," Rogers said.

"The competition consists of a five story tower and you run up the top of the tower and you wear full turnout gear, just like you'd go into a house fire, and you wear an air-pack as well as carry a high-rise pack," said Rogers.  Then, at the top, they pull up a 42 pound roll of hose with 90 pounds of gear on their backs.  They have a lot of running, dragging hoses and rescue dummies - all in a very small window of time.

The Altus Fire Department took the World Championship in 2004 and this year it will be held in Nevada.  "We've already qualified for Worlds and Nationals, so this is just kind of a warm up for us.  It's another open competition for our over 40 team, but it's also an opportunity for our young guys," said Rogers.  The firefighters are looking forward to competing in the regional challenge in Altus in August of 2008.