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      Summerville FD celebrates placement in world competition

      By Stacy Jacobsonsjacobson@abcnews4.com

      SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- Boots, gloves and oxygen tanks may all be typical fashion for a firefighter, but not necessarily for a fitness competition, unless you're on the Summerville Fire Rescue Combat Challenge team.

      "The whole thing came about as a job-related test for the fire department," Capt. Billy Penn said. "It's to test your physical ability as a firefighter."

      They climb, lift, run, pull and spray their way through a timed relay obstacle course.

      "We do a lot of interval training, CrossFit, that type of deal. We have numerous people who come and push us," Penn said.

      As the firefighters go up six stories of scaffolding, they have to wear their 25-pound air pack and carry a 45-pound hose over their shoulders.

      "It's way tougher than it looks," Penn said.

      They started competing eight years ago, when many of them were under 40, Penn said. Now, he is the youngest on the over-40 team, with the oldest member being 56.

      "We'll give anybody a good run. Things have to fall in to the right spot," team member Michael Quick said.

      Last week they did fall in to the right spot, when they placed second in the "over 40" team division at world competitions in Las Vegas.

      They said the drive to compete keeps them moving.

      "Being from Summerville, if you've been here a while, it's a very competitive town. It's all about winning, winning, winning," Penn said.

      But, they said the community was the real winner.

      "As far as doing your job, it makes it so much easier," Quick said. "You go on a house fire, all your gear on, breathe air, you have a lot more stamina. It definitely helps you. For citizens of Summerville, knowing you have a department that likes to work out and stays in shape, it's definitely something positive."

      The department invites any town residents to join them in their work outs. Contact Capt. Penn at Summerville Fire Rescue to schedule a time.

      You will have to sign a waiver.

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