Nov 15, 2010 12:40 PM by Greg Boyce

Area firefighters do well in international competition

Firefighters from the Air Force Academy and Colorado Springs Fire Departments won world championships in three events at the World Firefighter Combat Challenge XIX Saturday.

The Firefighter Combat Challenge simulates real-life firefighting by putting firefighters through five back-to-back tasks of climbing a five 5-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized, 175 lb. "victim," as they race against themselves, their opponent and the clock.

In the co-ed tandem category, Academy firefighter Anthony "Tank" McMurtry and Lt Stacey Billapando of the Colorado Springs Fire Department completed the course with a time of 1 minute and 32.34 seconds - beating their competitors by only two-hundredths of a second. For the tandem categories, each of the firefighter duos competing will run the course a single time, against the clock. This is McMurtry's seventh year in the firefighter combat challenge, and Billlapando's 10th year competing.

In the women's tandem category, the team of Billapando and Senior Airman Jessica Morehouse won the world title with a time of 1:57.18, beating their nearest competitors by almost 10 seconds. In doing so, Billapando and Morehouse repeated as world champions, as both were the 2009 world champions in their first year as a tandem. This is More house's second year in the firefighter combat challenge, and Billapando's tenth.

Also repeating as world champions were the Fire Fembots - a team of five female firefighters from the Academy and Colorado Springs. They earned a spot in the finals during previous regional competitions, and entered the single elimination bracket as defending champions. They progressed to the final round to face the Ontario Flame Tamers. The Fembots built and early lead and finished with of 1:45.31 - a second shy of their world record time, but more than 5 seconds ahead of their Canadian competitors to earn the Fire Fembots their second consecutive world title.




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