Firefighters put to the test at 20th annual competition
by Skyler Jones
GIBSON — For the second year in a row, Laurel Hill Fire Department took home first place at the 20th annual Firefighters Association Competition, held on Saturday.
The department topped five towns in Scotland County and one from McColl, S.C. with 15 total points. Laurinburg came in second with 12 points and Spring Hill placed third with 7 points.
“We have this to have all the firefighters in the county to work better together,” said Laurel Hill Fire Chief Clyde Locklear.
About 50 firefighters participated in the competition, and many fire departments and residents watched.
Betsy Leviner, of Hamlet, was one of many who had come to see firefighters put through their paces. The event was a “good way for the community to get together,” she said.
The competition was comprised on six events. During the first, the “Midnight Alarm,” firefighters who had been lying on the ground jumped up at the sound of a whistle and ran five yards to put on their pants and suspenders, five yards for their coats, another five yards for their helmet, air pack, gloves, mask and then a final five yards to the finish line.
Other events included a “Water Draft,” in which teams had to hit a target with a stream of water; a “Blind Maze,” that required firefighters to complete an obstacle course while blindfolded; and a “Bucket Brigade,” requiring contestants to carry water in buckets up a ladder and into a blue barrel.
According to William Skipper, president of the Firefighter’s Association and Capt. Of the Laurel Hill Fire Department, firefighters train up to twice a week for up to two months before the competition. The event, he said, was created to train and bring about fellowship in a competitive nature to surrounding Firefighter Associations.
Awards were given to the teams in first, second and third place, and raffle prizes ranged from $300 gas cards to rechargeable flashlights.
Also at the event, a check for about $3,500 was given to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Skipper hopes to raise more money for future fundraisers.
Skyler Jones is a student at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She works as an intern for The Laurinburg Exchange.
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