Saturday downtown Fire in the Belly

first_imgForget the heat. Move as fast as you can. Lives are at stake.You don approximately 50 pounds of firefighting gear, from boots, helmet and face mask to oxygen tank and ax. You connect a hose to a nearby hydrant, rush to the other end of the hose and start connecting extensions. You might have to force your way through a metal door. Then, your final task is to drag a 185-pound dummy — an incapacitated victim of fire — all the way out of harm’s way.Those were the basics of the firefighter challenge at Fire in the Park, a showcase and friendly competition among local firefighters that’s aimed at educating the public, as well as raising money for Share, the charity that houses and feeds the homeless and hungry. The event was held Saturday in Esther Short Park; it’s sponsored every year by Vancouver Firefighters local union 452.Also benefiting Share, and probably garnering far more attention due to its complete capture of Main Street from Fourth Plain on down, was Cruisin’ the Gut. That’s an annual classic-car-lovers festival that has grown from a modest outing to a total downtown road hog.Back to basics was the unsung theme of the sixth annual Fire in the Park, according to organizer Matt Thierfelder, a Vancouver firefighter. This year’s focus was entirely upon the life-and-death business of firefighting — the skills and strength that firefighters need to have, as well as a few things the public ought to know.That’s why Vancouver fire Capt. Cody Robinett had gathered a gaggle of young children around him for a review of basics such as: What phone number do you call when there’s an emergency? (The kids had that one cold, and they corrected Robinett when he said, “Right! 1, 2, 3!”) Where is the very center of your chest? (That was easy.)last_img read more