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Local firefighters suit up, climb stairs to honor those who died during 9/11

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WEST FARGO — Sept. 11 is a day of remembrance as people come together to honor those who died during the attacks.

And our area's very own firefighters are remembering with their Fifth Annual Memorial Stair Climb.

"It was exhausting. I'd say after 40-50, you just start getting super warm. And then you just kind of drink water, sweat it out and push through it," said West Fargo firefighter Ben Hearbst.

110 flights of stairs, as many as there were in both Twin Towers.

343 firefighters climbed that many flights in New York City 17 years ago before losing their lives.

And now the metro's firefighters are stepping into their shoes to honor their sacrifices.

"It feels great to be able to get there and kind of see what they experience, I mean, it's tough. I mean, it would be a lot worse in their condition in all the heat. But it's awesome to be able to recognize them for all the fallen firefighters," Hearbst said.

Around 30 metro firefighters will make their way to Family Wellness throughout the day to climb the 110 flights all while carrying 90 pounds of equipment and gear.

"It doesn't breathe just so it keeps you safe from fire and heat and all that. So you're — it's kind of like a sauna inside. Kind of like the wrestler's suits that they wear, you don't breathe," said West Fargo firefighter Scott Johnson.

Organizers said they hope the event continues to grow each year, not only to honor the firefighters but also to remember Sept. 11.

"It helps people not to forget. It's been 17 years so some people that see it now weren't old enough back then to realize what was going on," said West Fargo firefighter Zach Banister.

There are boots placed throughout Family Wellness that people can drop donations in while they climb.

All proceeds go directly toward The Salvation Army.

Last year, the group raised $5,000.