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On a sunny Saturday morning in April, groups of firefighters from across the state gathered in Short Pump to show off their skills and promote fire safety.
Ten men and women from the York County Department of Fire and Life Safety and the Williamsburg Fire Department made the trip to the Richmond suburb April 18 to compete in the 2015 Virginia Firefighter Games.
The games consisted of individual and relay competitions, live fire demonstrations, games for children, vendors and educational tents promoting fire and life safety.
"It really was a cool moment celebrating our profession," Williamsburg Deputy Fire Chief Larry Snyder Jr. said. He participated along with Master Firefighter Lee Ward, Firefighter/Paramedics Tim Furey and Nichole Furey, and Battalion Chief Robert Washington.
The five Williamsburg firefighters formed a relay team and went up against a Chesterfield County Fire Department recruit class who had just graduated from the academy, Snyder said.
The two teams were tasked with carrying a 42-pound hose pack to the top of a four -story tower, pulling a 42-pound hose pack up the four stories hand-over-hand, descending the four stories, using a Keiser Machine — similar to a sledgehammer — then zig-zagging through fire hydrants, grabbing a charged hose line and spraying at a target. Finally, the firefighters had to drag a 165-pound rescue dummy 75 feet to the finish line.
On the York County team, firefighter/medics Nick Runner, Geoff Swanson, John Buttrick, James Fox and Senior Firefighter/Medic Matt Sikora participated in both individual events and the team relay competition.
"We are extremely proud of the effort that each of our personnel put forth in preparing for and participating in the 2015 Virginia Firefighter Games,” said Paul Long, Assistant Fire Chief for York County. “They represented the highest ideals of our department and the fire and rescue service in professional manner.”