Local firefighters tops

How's this for a morning workout? Rise at 6:30 a.m. and lug a 45-pound fire hose up five flights of stairs as fast as you can.

That is one of the ways the five-man group of local firefighters known as Team Rock Hill prepared for the annual challenge in Myrtle Beach last month. They also practiced dragging a mannequin 100 feet to safety and did individual workouts, weightlifting and sprints.

The grueling regime paid off: Team Rock Hill captured first place in both the relay and individual divisions. Firefighter Chris East won first place in the individual division, while the group, consisting of East, Jason Dillon, Eric Schmittle, Corey Avant and Donald Stevenson won the team relay award. This month, the team will attend the Kentucky Regional Competition in hopes of qualifying for the World Firefighter Challenge in Las Vegas.

Rock Hill firefighters have a tradition of winning. This is the second time in three years the team has finished in first place. And in 2005, the team ranked 17th out of 90 finalists in the world challenge.

Not only do they bring glory to the local fire department, they also become better firefighters in the process. Good luck to Team Rock Hill in the upcoming competitions.

Team Rock Hill took first place awards in individual and team events at firefighter challenge.