Lake Okareka Rural Fire Force take a hat-trick in Sky Tower Stair Climb

By Alice Guy

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This year's Sky Tower Stair Climb was another massive year for the Lake Okareka Rural Fire Force with the team scoring a hat-trick in the Donned section of the challenge and taking the top team award for the fourth year in a row.

Lewis Shaw took out first place in Saturday's Donned event, scaling the tower in 11 minutes and 20 seconds - the Donned event sees firefighters carrying the full breathing aparatus but not wearing the oxygen mask.

His second year competing, Mr Shaw beat last year's time by 36 seconds.

"I started out much steadier this time," he said.

"The hardest part is the start, you're not warmed up yet. You round the corner into the stair well and you can feel the heat."

Mr Shaw said the middle was tough too, "but you finish it quickly when you realise how close you're getting".

"Sometimes you pass other guys and there's thumbs up and words of encouragement," he said.

The Lake Okareka Rural Volunteer team that won this years Sky Tower Stair Challenge. (from left) Thomas Firth, Amber Muldoon, Phil Rennie, Phil Muldoon, Stu Lyall and Lewis Shaw. Photo/Stephen Parker
The Lake Okareka Rural Volunteer team that won this years Sky Tower Stair Challenge. (from left) Thomas Firth, Amber Muldoon, Phil Rennie, Phil Muldoon, Stu Lyall and Lewis Shaw. Photo/Stephen Parker

The firefighters are seperated into waves and each start 30 seconds apart.

First timer, 17-year-old, Thomas Firth placed second behind Mr Shaw and said he couldn't wait to go for the win next year.

"I got a bit tired halfway up, but you're pushed forward trying to do a good time for the team," he said.

"It's all for such a good cause."

Team member Phil Rennie said the day had a great atmosphere.

"We do that short little bit and it raises the funds for people who really need it," he said.

"We'll have close to $7000 when we've actually finished counting."

Chief Fire Officer Phil Muldoon said it had been brilliant leading the team.

"I'm so proud of them, the dedication it takes to keep training," he said.

"It's definitely not easy."

Mr Muldoon came third in the Grand Masters category, for people over 50.

For his daughter Amber it was her first time competing.

"Thomas and I had talked about it a bit, and finally got round to doing it," she said.

Miss Muldoon came 6th in the women's open but said she would definitely be coming back next year with a goal of beating the boys.

Rotorua Firefighters who competed
Lake Okareka - Donned
Lewis Shaw, 11.20
Thomas Firth, 11.53
Rasmus Munk, 13.00
Philip Muldoon, 14.31
Amber Muldoon, 18.30
Philip Rennie, 18.39
Stu Lyall, 27.40

Ngongotaha - Donned and Started
Daniel Voss, 13.53
Justin Nichols, 15.21
Ricardo Wallace, 21.43
Francis Boag, 24.03
Leah Hoffman, 25.23
Kurt Rencher, 27.26

Rotorua - Donned
Jacob Collins, 15.34
Jeffrey Hall, 16.26

Rotorua - Donned and Started
Ashley Longhurst, 14.23

- Rotorua Daily Post

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