Burnaby firefighters own the podium at stair-climb fundraiser

There aren’t a lot of bragging rights Burnaby firefighters didn’t earn at the B.C. Lung Association’s Climb the Wall fundraiser in Vancouver Sunday.

Competing against 304 firefighters from around the province to see who could raise the most money for the association and who could sprint up all 48 storeys of the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre in full firefighter gear the fastest, the Burnaby team owned the podium for the second year in a row.

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Burnaby’s 29-member crew was the top fundraising team, taking in just over $15,000.

Local firefighters Craig Smith (6:05), Noel Nacauili (6:35) and Logan Wiess (6:46) clocked the first-, second- and third-fastest times respectively.

Climb the Wall, Noel Nacauli
Burnaby firefighter and Climb for Tin Man co-captain Noel Nacauili poses with his wife, Samantha and daughters Olivia, 4, and Lucy, 3, all of whom climbed the 48 storeys of the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre during the B.C. Lung Association's Climb the Wall fundraiser Sunday. - Contributed

And Burnaby also won a new “fastest five” category, thanks to Smith, Nacauili, John Clune (7:15), Tyler Roselund (7:09) and Kevin Douglas (7:27).

Deputy fire Chief Darcy O’Riordan (9:06) and firefighter Steve Vaissade (9:31) also chipped in second- and third-place finishes in the master’s category.

The Burnaby team has tripled in size since two years ago, when 28-year Burnaby Fire Department veteran Captain Ken Kinney was diagnosed with lung cancer.

The team grew and galvanized while he was in hospital, renaming their Climb the Wall fundraising efforts the “Climb for Tin Man.”

Kinney lost his battle with cancer four months later, but local firefighters remain committed to honouring his memory at the climb, said team co-captain Nacauili.

And Kinney’s wife and daughters were there to cheer them on.

“It was just good to see our department go out there and rally together for Ken,” Nacauili said.  

This year’s results will be a challenge to replicate next year, according to the co-captain, but the team seems keen, he said.

“It’s a tough act to follow, but – I don’t know, everyone who came out this year had a great time and they’re excited for next year,” he said.

Nacauili, Clune, Vaissade and Smith will get a head start next month at the LLS Firefighter Stairclimb Columbia Center in Downtown Seattle.

At that event, the four Burnaby firefighters will climb 69 flights of stairs in full gear to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


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