INDEPENDENT NEWS

Fire-fighters climb record ‘Everests’

Published: Mon 5 Dec 2005 12:16 AM
December 4, 2005
Fire-fighters climb record ‘Everests’ for burn patients
Ten of New Zealand’s finest and fittest fire-fighters are claiming a Guinness Book of Records after climbing the equivalent of more than 12 Mt Everests in Auckland during the weekend.
At the same time, they have raised thousands of dollars for burn patients at the National Burn Centre currently under construction at Middlemore Hospital in South Auckland.
The New Zealand Fire-fighters 24-Hour Challenge involved volunteers from the New Zealand Fire Service attempting to break the record for the greatest vertical height climbed on a ladder in 24 hours.
In order to break the record each fire-fighter had to climb a 10 metre tower 1,100 times or the equivalent of more than12 Mt Everests. At 8,848m, Mt Everest is the world’s highest mountain.
They had failed at an earlier attempt in February this year, missing out by about 13 kilometres.
The team members, including a single female fire-fighter, climbed a total of 109.59 kilometres to break the record held by UK fire-fighters by 4.59 kilometres.
The record was broken with an hour to spare.
Organiser and participating fire-fighter Rob Holah is full of praise for his team for beating the record of 105kms set in the UK in 2000.
“Really, they definitely conquered their own Everests this time. And while it is a huge achievement, it is almost of secondary importance. We’re really stoked to have been able to help contribute to the fundraising for the burn centre,” Mr Holah says.
Plastic and burn surgeon and clinical leader of the National Burn Centre Stephen Mills is delighted with the outcome.
“These people are heroes. They put their lives on the line for all of us every day of their professional lives and here they are giving up their own time for our cause.
“I cannot thank them enough. The money will really boost our fundraising programme.”
The funds raised were collected at the Viaduct Basin during the record attempt and from text messages and calls to an 0900 number.
The new National Burns Centre at Middlemore Hospital provides treatment and rehabilitation for the most severe burn patients from across the country, both adults and children.
It is part of a larger burn care network with existing regional facilities in Christchurch, the Hutt Valley and the Waikato.
Donations can still be made in support of the Challenge. To make a $3 donation text ‘BURN’ to 833 or to make a $20 donation phone 0900 4 BURN (0900 4 2876).
Application is now being made to the Guinness Book of Records for ratification of the record as everything has to be done “by the book”. An officially-registered Guinness timekeeper kept track of proceedings for the entire 24 hours
ENDS

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