Photo courtesy Tukwila Police Department’s
                                Facebook page

Photo courtesy Tukwila Police Department’s Facebook page

Tukwila Fire raises more than $8,000 for the LLS Stairclimb

The crew climbed up 69 flights of stairs at the Columbia Tower in Seattle.

The Tukwila Fire Department took raising money for a good cause to the next step. Literally.

On March 10, six members of Tukwila Fire, including Chief Jay Wittwer, took to the stairs and walked up all 69 flights of stairs in the Columbia Tower in Seattle to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Tukwila Fire ended up raising more than $8,000 for the cause and in total 2,000 firefighters from all over the world raised a total of $2,378,360, according to a Facebook post from the Tukwila Police Department.

According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website, this is the world’s largest on-air stair climb competition.

While at the event, Wittwer said he met firefighters from Mexico, Canada, Germany, France and from all over the United States.

Wittwer said climbing those stairs was no easy feat.

He said each firefighter must wear their “turnout gear.” This means participants must wear their firefighting boots, which according to Wittwer are not made for running as they have a steel shank in the bottom of them.

“They’re designed to protect your feet from effects of fire and heat as well as water,” Wittwer said.

Along with the boots, participants must also wear their fire protective pants and jacket, their air pack, including face mask and breathing mask, and their helmet and gloves.

While this was a hard task to complete, Wittwer said the real difficulty is fighting cancer.

“The real efforts that are being made are by those that are suffering the effects of leukemia and lymphoma and we’re there to support them. The big drive for it of course is raising funds for research and treatment for those suffering the effect those cancer,” he explained.

This cause hits home for Wittwer as one of the battalion chiefs was diagnosed with lymphoma about six years ago. He was lucky and overcame it, but some aren’t as successful.

Wittwer also just discovered one of his family members is struggling with leukemia.

“A week before I climbed the stairs, I got a message from one of my cousins that I’m very close to — he’s in his 70’s — and he’s been diagnosed with a very rare form of leukemia and is seeking treatment and a really more refined diagnosis of his situation,” he said. “So it really does hit close to most of us. As I’ve talked to those climbing the stairs, family members and very close friends have been affected by this.”

Throughout his career, Wittwer said he has never climbed up this many stairs before. Usually, he said he will go up an average of around 10 to 14 floors, so this was new for him as this was his first time participating in the event.

For Tukwila Fire in general, Wittwer said participating in this event has been a tradition for decades.

“I’m very happy to have participated in this event. I will say that it was a very difficult task. Those who participate say it’s a painful adventure,” he said. “As you reach the top of the Columbia Center Tower, you’re very relieved. After about a half hour of recovery time, I felt great, ready to go about my day and it was very nice to be up there on the top and just spending time with the people of like mind and dedicated to this great cause.”


More in Life

Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and Page Carson Foster. Photo credit Washington State Legislative Support Services
Carson Foster serves as page in Washington State House

The following was submitted to the Reporter: Carson Foster, a student at… Continue reading

Matt Kidd. Submitted photo
True strength has no limits

Covington resident Matt Kidd shares his story about kidney disease to help others during National Kidney Month.

Submitted photos from Kela Hall
Inspiring young women

The KD Hall Foundation honored Women’s History Month by having empowering and… Continue reading

Two commissioner positions available this year

For The Reporter The Tukwila Pool Metropolitan Park District (TPMPD) is a… Continue reading

Photo courtesy Tukwila Police Department’s
                                Facebook page
Tukwila Fire raises more than $8,000 for the LLS Stairclimb

The crew climbed up 69 flights of stairs at the Columbia Tower in Seattle.

Troop 398 newest Eagle Scout presentation

The Tukwila Historical Society is pleased to announce our volunteer and Tukwila… Continue reading

Submitted photo from the Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks Tre Flowers visits Tyee

He went there to present a $10,000 grant to the school

Measles outbreak: Officials urge vaccinations

Editor’s note: Measles is highly contagious. If you think you or your… Continue reading

The Tukwila Historical Society has been the location for the Japanese Sister City Gift Exchange Exhibit for the past several years. The city of Tukwila had many of the artifacts in storage and by joint effort it was decided to place the items in the museum for all to enjoy. For a viewing of the exhibit, please feel free to contact the Tukwila Historical Society to arrange a visit. Photo by Louise Jones-Brown
Japanese influence in the Duwamish Valley

In 1907, prior to Tukwila’s incorporation, the T.S. Unos family arrived from… Continue reading

For whodunit lovers, this short story is a gleefully-dark delight

Growing older is a very good thing. First of all, there’s a… Continue reading

Winter safety tips

The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office give safety tips about the winter weather.

Search no more, you’ll want to read ‘Hero Dogs’

You felt like such a loser. It was a feeling that didn’t… Continue reading