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August 1, 2006 > Firefighter Combat Challenge

Firefighter Combat Challenge

by Imelda Valenzuela

For the third year in a row, regional competition of the Firefighter Combat Challenge will be a primary attraction at the Fremont Festival of the Arts. Hosted by the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, the combat challenge is a collaborative effort between the chamber and Fremont Firefighters Local #1689 simulating the physical rigors of real-life firefighting.

Harnessed in full bunker gear, breathing apparatus, and 42-pound supply pack, pairs of firefighters hailing from as far as Alaska compete in this intense, timed challenge that includes climbing to the top of a five-story tower, hoisting a 42-pound roll of hose to the top of the tower, and dragging a life-sized, 175-pound "victim" 100 feet-all within minutes.

According to Cindy Bonoir, Fremont Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer, the event exposes the community to the challenges faced by firefighters and is "another element we added that goes beyond the art and wine of the festival."

"It's a very community-oriented event," said Gerry Fogel, a Fremont firefighter and organizer of the local challenge. "It gives firefighters a chance to interact with the community. I like the opportunity we have to see firefighters in action because the whole competition involves tasks that a firefighter would do in a structure fire."

Competitions will be held on Saturday, August 5 (Combat Challenge) and Sunday, August 6 (Relays & Tandem) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the corner of State Street and Capitol Avenue.

Firefighters from across the United States and Canada have registered at over 25 regional challenge events throughout the United States. Those who finish with qualifying times will be allowed to compete in the World Championship Firefighter Combat Challenge XV to be held November 7-11 at Henderson, Nevada. More information about Firefighter Combat Challenge activities is available at

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