Ponoka firefighter climbs Bow tower for fundraiser

Firefighters tested their grit in a staircase climb in the Bow tower in Calgary.

Firefighters tested their grit in a staircase climb in the Bow tower in Calgary.

Ponoka Fire Department member Jaden Squires took part in a fundraiser to support people suffering from cancer. The fundraiser tested not only her fundraising capabilities but also her determination. Squires raised $1,950 beating her goal of $1,500 for Wellspring Calgary that supports people who are diagnosed with cancer.

The arduous 55 flights of stairs climb was held Sunday, May 1 with firefighters from all over North America taking part, said Squires. By the end of it, Squires took on 1,204 stairs in 29:24 and placed 26 out of 37 women. In total there were 296 firefighters who took on the challenge.

While she didn’t complete the climb in the same time period as the first place firefighter, Squires was proud of her effort. It was a way to give back having been personally affected by cancer; Squires’ grandfather died of cancer.

The climb is nowhere close to being considered easy as full firefighter bunker gear, plus breathing apparatus can be quite heavy. “Going in was really nerve-wracking because they line up 50 to 60 firefighters at a time.”

The first 10 flights, 45 still to go, were not too hard to handle but after that Squires had to stop and take a break every couple of flights. The task only got tougher as she continued. Once she was up to the 40th flight, Squires says the elevation made breathing even more of a challenge.

What kept her going? Support from volunteers and organizers along the way was strong with people urging her to continue on. They checked in with climbers and offered water if needed.

Despite the challenge, Squires says she would try it again in a heartbeat. She added that she is considering trying out some of the firefighter climbs in the United States.

Maskwacis firefighter Allison Buffalo also took part in the challenge.