Shelby County student wins state Skills USA fire-fighting competition

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Shelby County School of Technology student Nicholas Betros knows what to do when he has to put his feet to the fire.

Betros, originally from Calera, won first place in the fire-fighting division of Alabama’s Skills USA competition by taking home first place in both the physical challenge and the “Don and Doff” challenge, in which competitors must quickly put on and remove their fire gear.

“To be a fire fighter, you have to be dressed and on air in two minutes,” Betros said. “I did it in 48 seconds, which was my best time.”

The second place winner’s time was 1 minute and 20 seconds.

In the physical challenge, Betros had to complete actual fire-fighting tasks such as pulling a hose up a six-story building, dragging a 185-pound dummy and running up and down six flights of stairs.

“My favorite part was the physical challenge,” he said. “It’s the real test you have to pass to go to fire-college.”

After winning the state competition, Betros advanced to the national competition in Kansas City, Mo., where representatives from every state, including Guam and the Virgin Islands, competed in the same tasks.

Betros placed 15th overall in the national competition.

He plans to go to fire school after completing basic training in the Army National Guard later in the year.