Annual firefighter combat challenge in Tyler this weekend -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Annual firefighter combat challenge in Tyler this weekend

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Tyler's seventh annual Firefighter Combat Challenge is taking place Friday night and Saturday - a chance for firefighters from all over the world to come and compete.

"It's the toughest two minutes in sports, and we would put any firefighter here up against a professional athlete in any sport and our firefighter would probably be right there at the end," said Tyler Fire Chief Tim Johnson.

"It's our goal to make sure these guys are getting out there, getting fit, because when it comes time to save lives in a fire, you want fit firefighters who are going to be able to get the job done," said Michael Degrandpre, Corporate Communications Director for the Firefighter Combat Challenge.

It's a course that includes carrying a 42-pound pack of hose up a tower, hoisting a 42-pound donut roll of hose over the tower, knocking an 180-pound I-beam along a Kaiser force machine, running through delineators, carrying a charged hose 100 feet to hit a target, and dragging a 175-pound "Rescue Randy" mannequin across the finish line.

More than 100 firefighters from at least 60 different departments came to compete.

San Antonio firefighter Tommy Williams tries to compete in five to seven events a year.

"The training is actually a lot worse than the actual event itself. It's hours and hours of training, of dragging hose, climbing stairs, running wind sprints, and then setting all that stuff back up again after you finish running it," he said.

It's a two-day event that organizers hope will show people what firefighters go through every day.

"It really has added just a really positive effect on firefighters all over, because everybody understands how taxing it is to put on all that gear, get wet, it's heavy," Johnson said. "You're going into these smoke-filled buildings and everything that just physically, it's demanding."

Organizers say the world record for the challenge is one minute, 19 seconds.

The challenge continues Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. with the team competitions and a plane flyover.

The course is set up in the south parking lot of the Broadway Square Mall, near Sears.

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