Firefighters compete in international event in Oshawa


Oshawa Fire Services is gearing up to host an elite group of firefighters for a competitve event dubbed the toughest two minutes in sport.

It will be the first time that Oshawa’s fire department hosts the World Firefit Championship and its members will compete compete against their counterparts from Germany, England, the U.S., France and the United Arab Eremites. It’s the largest firefighting event to be held in Ontario.

Six Oshawa firefighters will take part in the competition which is based on tasks commonly performed in emergency situations, including stair climbs, forcible entry, running, hose targeting, and victim rescue.

A firefighter trains for an upcoming international competition. (Jack Boland, Toronto Sun)

In addition to the World Firefit Championships, Oshawa will host the fourth annual FireFit competition — all running Tuesday through Sunday.

Events include competition and team relays where firefighters compete in full protective equipment.

The race begins with firefighters running up six flights of stairs carrying a 19.5-kilogram hose. Once on top of the tower, they must hoist another heavy hose to the top and descend the tower touching each step along the way.

Also on the roster is the challenger force machine in which a four-kilogram mallet is used to pound back a steel beam to simulate a forced door entry, followed by running a serpentine course of fire hydrants.

Once completing that part of the course, competitors pick up a hose line and advance 23 metres to a target which must be knocked down. Finally, an 86-kilogram mannequin must be dragged backward to the finish line.

Oshawa firefighter Matt Baca’s best time for the course is one minute, 18 seconds — eight seconds longer than the world record.

“It’s great to make friends from all around the world and at the end of the day, it’s nice to make a personal best,” Baca said.

Most competitors train all year, added Oshawa firefighter Nathan Langille, who has been in this game since 2004.

“It’s packing a lot of workouts into two minutes,” Langille said.

“Oshawa Fire Service provides incredible service to our community each and every day,” said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter.