Firefighters compete in grueling Columbia tower climb

The Mercer Island Fire Department participated in the grueling Firefighter Stair Climb at Seattle's Columbia Center, the tallest building in the city at 73 floors.

The annual fundraiser is put on by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. More than 1,500 firefighters from around the world compete in the event, running up 1,311 steps with 50 pounds of gear on, including face masks and respirators.

Island firefighter Stephen Mair, 40, earned second place in the Master Males category, finishing the course in 13 minutes and 20 seconds. Mair placed 11th overall in the men's race.

Barry Collier, 41, placed fifth in the Master Males category with a time of 14:26, and Curt Groscost, 43, placed 10th with a time of 14:47 seconds. Overall, Collier placed 35th and Groscost placed 51st.

Other Island firefighters to place well included Mark Givens, 36, who placed 30th with a time of 14:22 seconds. Tom Gutto, 24, placed 91st with a time of 15:37 seconds. Matt Kennedy, 30, took 158th place with 16:37. Trever Kissel, 36, was among the top 300 with 17:20. Kent Bastrom, 43, and Scott Logsdon, 32, made the tope 400 with times of 18:06 and 18:29, respectively. Jason Cook finished with a time of 17:11.

Missoula Rural Fire Department member Kory Burgess, 27, took first place overall with a time of 11:01:35. It is Burgess' sixth time participating in the event.

In the women's category, Georgia Sans Daniels, 42, finished first with a time of 14:51:90.

The annual race begins outside Columbia Center's north stairwell on Fifth Avenue. The firefighters -- 10 percent of them women -- are staggered at 15-second intervals, their times monitored by wrist bands. The participants stop briefly on the 40th floor to swap out empty oxygen tanks for fresh ones.

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