VIFR’s Josh Munger, who has competed in the event 12 times, stands at the base of the Columbia Center on Sunday. (Courtesy Photo)

Firefighter Stairclimb

A team from Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) took part in the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb on Sunday at Seattle’s Columbia Center and raised nearly $7,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The VIFR team joined some 2,000 firefighters from around the country, climbing 69 flights of stairs in full bunker gear. Former island paramedic Andy Johnson finished first from the island’s team in a time of 16 minutes, 14 seconds. While that is considered an excellent time and Johnson had felt he was on a good pace, he said he was disappointed when he learned it was 30 seconds slower than last year.

“This is the first time I have not set a personal best,” he said.

Undaunted, he will try again next year.

The oldest team member, Mike Kirk, 75, finished in 22 minutes, 20 seconds, coming in first out of three in the 75 to 80 age group and third on Vashon’s seven-member team.

VIFR’s Josh Munger has competed in this event 12 times and participated again this year. Over the years, he said, he has raised some $30,000 through this event to fight cancer.

Although it has gotten harder over the years, he said, “It felt good to do it.”

Vashon’s team also included Darren Lenz, Josh Duweke, Ben Davidson and Matt McCann. Benjamin Sarb was part of the team as well, but was unable to particpate on Sunday.

Donations to the cause are still welcome.