Evansville Firefighter combat team training to defend state titl - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Evansville Firefighter combat team training to defend state title

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Firefighter George Madison trains in a downtown parking garage for an upcoming challenge. Firefighter George Madison trains in a downtown parking garage for an upcoming challenge.

Some of the most physically fit Evansville firefighters are hitting the stairs in a downtown parking garage to train for several months of obstacle course competitions.

Training for these special events, makes doing what they do on a daily basis, that much more efficient.

Five flights of stairs with 42 pounds on his shoulders is only the first part of an intense combat challenge.

And for the rookie, Derrick Fullen has to learn the ropes.

"Knowing that I'm going with guys that have been doing this for four and five years, and they're excellent at it, world champs, puts a little pressure on me," Fullen said.

When Fullen isn't on the stairs, he's at the gym in his gas mask and he's used to the strange stares.

"I've had a couple of parents walk up and tell me I was scaring their kids," Fullen said.

the training all boils down to the most difficult part of the course, which comes at the very end: The dummy drag.

"That's when you're totally exhausted, you've done everything you're going to do, your muscles are shot, your lungs are burning, and yet you have to drag this 175 pound dummy 106 feet, your thighs get burned really bad," team captain Joey Jones said.

"The dummy drag just because the dummy weighs about ten more pounds than I do, so it makes it a little bit harder," Fullen said.

So during practices, the endurance training gets kicked up a notch.

"At times it gets tough it gets rough, you want to quit, it's hard, but you just keep going, you know you're getting better, you don't stop," Jones said.

Veteran and reigning state champion, Adam Brock, completed the course last year in 1:28.

But at the end of the day, the team's first priority is fighting fires. And sometimes they say that's the easy part.

"Getting the fire doesn't seem as bad, as doing this challenge, it keeps me in good physical shape," Fullen said.

The first challenge for the team is in Indianapolis April 25-27. This is the first competition of the season where they'll be defending their state champion title.

You can follow their progress by clicking here. 

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