Elite firefighters compete for title - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Elite firefighters compete for title

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Some of the most elite firefighters from all over the country are in Tyler this weekend to see how they match up against some of Tyler's finest.

More than 3,000 firefighters and 640 fire departments compete in the Firefighter Combat Competition that is gaining worldwide attention. 

"This is the only federally funded university based physiological research study that became a nationally touring and televised sports event," says Dr. Paul Davis.  

The competition begins with the competitors climbing a five-story tower that has more than 60 stairs. The firefighters have to climb the stairs all while carrying a 50-pound air pack and dressed in "full-bunker gear".  

After making it down the tower, the competitors have to put real-life firefighting skills to use; the competition includes hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized 175 pound "victim."

"If you can do this, then you know you can do your job," says Dr. Davis.

Everybody has a different reason for competing.

"You have a lot of guys, even in their 40's who come to you and tell you that its because of this that they have maintained this readiness state of fitness," says Dr. Davis.  

For many firefighters, this goes well beyond a showcase of athleticism.

"I took an oath to protect the people of El Paso, my community, and that's really what I'm doing out here. I'm just pushing my own limits, my physical limits and doing that every year," says firefighter David Valero.

Valero says competing in this event every year helps prove to himself and his community, that he is fit to be a firefighter.

Tomorrow's events will begin at 10am in the Sears parking lot at the Broadway Square Mall. The event is free to the public and kids will have a course set up as well.

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