Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Shepparton firefighters to take flight - 28 of them

Five firefighters are setting themselves for a challenge that is no stairway to heaven.

JENNA BISHOP August 26, 2014 4:26am

In training: Firefighters Sean Murphy and Phil Freestone tackle the Telstra Tower’s stairs in preparation for next weekend's Firefighter Stair Climb.


Running up 28 flights of stairs would be daunting for most people, but imagine the challenge carrying an additional 25kg of firefighting equipment.

This is what five firefighters from Shepparton Fire Brigade will face on September 7 when they take on the inaugural Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb at the Crown Metropole.

Ben MacKenzie, Sean Murphy, Phil Freestone, Luke Waterson and Nick Hall will tackle the hotel’s 28 flights of stairs to raise money for The Alfred hospital’s burns unit.

While completing the run, they will also have to wear turnout gear and full breathing apparatus, weighing about 25kg.

‘‘It was a challenge for us and we were trying to rally people around the station to try and raise money for the burns unit,’’ Mr MacKenzie said.

He said it was also in recognition of the fantastic work The Alfred’s burns unit did, and following a house fire on August 4 crews attended where an elderly man was flown to The Alfred in a critical condition.

The five have been in training for the past few weeks, using the Telstra Tower’s stairs at Maude St Mall for practice.

Mr MacKenzie said each firefighter had been using their high-rise equipment as part of training, including breathing apparatus, nozzles and hoses.

‘‘Shepparton doesn’t have very many multi-storey buildings and not many stairs, so it’s been a challenge,’’ he said.

Mr MacKenzie said the stair climb would be a great way to raise awareness for the critical work of the burns unit.

‘‘We’re looking forward to it — there’s a lot of people in the station who enjoy fitness,’’ he said.

The challenge hopes to raise more than $100000 for The Alfred’s burn units, with more than 200 firefighters across the state taking part.


To donate to the Shepparton team’s effort, visit, click the ‘‘Donations’’ tab and search ‘‘Shepparton’’.


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