Pelham firefighter wins national awards

Published 10:38 am Tuesday, September 12, 2023

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PELHAM – During this year’s U.S. National Champion’s Firefighter Challenge on Saturday, Sept. 9 Pelham’s very own Jack Lanier placed second overall in the Under 40 Male Division 1 category. 

The Firefighter Challenge began back in 1991 as a competition between five different departments and has since swelled to include participants from hundreds of different fire departments throughout the U.S. and Canada and continues to expand into other countries, including New Zealand, Germany, Argentina, Chile and South Africa. The challenge seeks to encourage firefighter fitness and demonstrate the profession’s rigors to the public. 

The Firefighter Challenge simulates these rigors by having competitors compete in a series of five challenges, including: climbing a 5-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized, 175 lb, “victim” as they race against themselves, their opponent and the clock. In each of these challenges, competitors wear full “bunker gear” and a breathing apparatus.

“It’s an event that measures firefighters’ endurance and strength and agility,” said Battalion Chief Bill Jones. “We used to use it for a physical fitness test.”  

Jake Lanier joined the Pelham Fire Department around three years ago; before that, he served on the Montgomery Fire Department. Lanier has been competing in the Firefighter Challenge for years, and won the title of ‘Fastest Firefighter in the World’ in 2019 after finishing first in individual races at the World Firefighter Combat Challenge. Before that, he spent seven years competing, and for four of those years, his team won the World Championship and set world records in the process.

This year’s  U.S. National Champion’s Firefighter Challenge took place in Hoover and ran from Tuesday, Sept. 5 to Saturday, Sept. 9. Firefighters from all over the country came out to compete in a variety of different races and challenges. Along with Lanier’s 2nd overall in the Under 40 Male Division, he and his teammate Brian Riebe of St. Lucie County, FL, won the Under 40 Male Tandem with a time of 1:08:72.

Lanier was also a member of the Southeast Lions Overall Male Hybrid Relay Team that won the category they competed in.

“Congratulations Jake,” the Pelham Fire Department said on their facebook page. “You make us proud!”