Thursday, August 18, 2011

Firefighters and Fire Chief Bowers to Tackle County's Tallest Tower To Honor 9/11 Fire Fighters On Saturday

On Saturday more than 50 members of MCFRS, including Fire Chief Richie Bowers, will climb 110 stories at the North Bethesda Market East Tower in honor of our 343 colleagues who died in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

The event, which was organized by Firefighter TJ Monahan of Station 33 in Potomac to commemorate next month's 10th anniversary of the tragedy, is a fundraiser for the International Association of Fire Fighters' Burn Foundation. It is the first firefighter stair climb in the Washington region, according Ron Benedict, the Fitness Team and Grants Coordinator for IAFF who's been helping plan the event.

The apartment tower at North Bethesda Market, the tallest building in Montgomery County, is the equivalent of 25 stories from ground level.

"I'd heard of other stair climbs around the country that other firefighters do, and I thought it fitting to do something locally to honor the 343 firefighter lives lost in New York on 9/11, almost a decade ago," Monahan said. "I began searching for the tallest building I could find, and found it virtually in my backyard.  To 'climb the World Trade Center,' we'll be going up and down four times, plus 10 extra stories at the end."

Many of the participants will make the climb in full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) with Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA), about 60 lbs. worth of gear. In addition to raising money for the Burn Foundation in memory of our fallen brothers and sisters, the event will give participants the opportunity to realistically gauge their personal performance expectations during an actual high-rise incident--without the benefit of elevators.

The event begins at 9 a.m., Aug. 20, at North Bethesda Market, 11418 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, Md. Stop by to lend support and cheer for those tackling the tower climb. The event is hosted by IAFF and IAFF Local 1664, and sponsored in part by North Bethesda Market and The JBG Companies.

Donations to the IAFF Burn Foundation in support of the stair climb can be made at the event or online at


Anonymous said...

Were volunteers invited to participate in this?

billd said...

Sorry, almost missed this comment post. Yes, volunteer members did in fact participate in this wonderful event!