Fire­fight­ers to feel the burn


Climb­ing Colo­nial Knob in full fire­fighter gear is not fun at all, but Andre La­porte fig­ures he has to.

Three times a week the Ti­tahi Bay vol­un­teer straps on his jacket, puls the oxy­gen tank onto his back – all up, about 25kg of gear – and sets off up the steep steps at the north end of Porirua’s land­mark.

‘‘I try to mix it up a bit – there’s a place in Tawa where I climb steps as well,’’ he said. ‘‘Do­ing this was hard to get used to, but it has to be done.’’

La­porte and three Ti­tahi Bay col­leagues, along with many oth­ers from the brigades in the Porirua basin, will tackle the Fire­fighter Sky Tower Stair Chal­lenge on May 28.

It’s an an­nual event, grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity since kick­ing off in 2005, and raises money for Leukaemia & Blood Can­cer New Zealand.

More than 850 fire­fight­ers from 200 brigades will race up the 1103 steps or 51 flights of stairs in the Sky Tower this year, in full gear.

The fastest time is about six min­utes; the av­er­age time, La­porte said, is about 20 min­utes.

Ti­tahi Bay deputy chief fire of­fi­cer Paul Cox is even shav­ing his mous­tache off to raise money. The hope is for the bri­gade, through spon­sor­ship and fundrais­ing events, to raise $6000.

‘‘It’s good for the pro­file of the fire ser­vice, be­cause we want to show that we’re do­ing this for the com­mu­nity we live in and for a great cause,’’ Cox said.

Fire­fighter Liam Paul said their fam­i­lies were cru­cial as the bri­gade members jug­gled work, train­ing for the chal­lenge and call­outs.

As­sis­tance has come from 24/7 Fit­ness in Paru­moana St, which is giv­ing the Ti­tahi Bay crew two tread­mills and free memberships through­out their train­ing.

Porirua City Coun­cil park­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal in­spec­tor Marlise de Vries, a vol­un­teer fire­fighter with the Porirua bri­gade, has joined col­leagues Paul Sete­fano and Xan Ione in rat­tling buck­ets in full fire­fight­ing kit at su­per­mar­kets.

‘‘I’ve been very hum­bled by the peo­ple we have en­coun­tered while fundrais­ing and the gen­eros­ity of the Porirua com­mu­nity has blown me away,’’ she said.

Go to fire­fight­ and click on ‘‘search for a fire­fighter’’ to look for an in­di­vid­ual or a bri­gade to sup­port.


From left, Andre La­porte, Rob­bie Ma­clnarlin, Liam Paul and Paul Cox will be fly­ing the Ti­tahi Bay flag at the Sky Tower on May 28.

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