On Sept. 11, FDNY firefighters raced up the stairs of the 110-story World Trade Center towers to evacuate occupants.
It would be deemed the most successful rescue. But, 343 responders paid the ultimate sacrifice while conducting that evacuation.
In honor of their sacrifice, Firehouse, in cooperation with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, is sponsoring a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at the Hilton in Baltimore.
The climb – open to 343 personnel – will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 21.
Each participant’s $25 registration fee goes to a special fund to assist the families and survivors of Sept. 11, including firefighters who have been stricken with various illnesses since their work at Ground Zero.
“This is a way to honor and remember the FDNY firefighters,” said Billy Hinton, NFFF stair climb coordinator.
Hinton said Hilton officials have been very supportive of the effort.
“We’re hoping to get 343 firefighters signed up to climb,” he said, adding that participants may wear turnout gear, workout clothes or stuff they don at the station. “We are asking they not bring SCBAs.”
Each firefighter will be carrying a badge and picture of a fallen FDNY comrade.
Firefighters can register by going to FireHero.org.
In Nashville, Tenn., organizers are getting ready for their second stair climb.
Firefighter Josh Smith said the event will be held at the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower.
In addition to remembering the fallen, he said he wants to show the community that firefighters are committed to being fit to better serve their community.
Smith said of the event, “Firefighters have to be in top shape. This is extremely challenging…”
He added that firefighters there are encouraged, but it’s not mandatory to wear full turnout gear, SCBA, and carry a piece of equipment used for high-rise fires such as a 2.5" hose pack or a forcible entry tool.
Workout clothes or shorts also are acceptable, he added quickly.
He also said it’s important for participants to properly hydrate before starting the event.
“Each team will climb 28 stories four times for 110 stories,” he added.
The idea about climbing 110 stories was born in Denver in 2005. Five firefighters from Denver and Castle Rock Fire Departments participated.
The next year, a dozen firefighters participated. “Several tenants in the building made signs for the firefighters, and the support of the building's management was astounding. The building is the second tallest in Denver, and is 54 stories tall. Climbers start in the basement, and make their way up the length of the building twice; giving the total number of stories climbed to be 110. The firefighters climbing were from the Denver Fire Department, the Castle Rock Fire Department, the Aurora Fire Department, and the Littleton Fire Department,” according to the event website.
Several hundred participated in 2007, and in 2008, the total number of participants was 343.