Sunderland firefighter to climb 110 flights of stairs in full safety equipment on 20th anniversary of 9/11

A firefighter from Sunderland is set to climb 110 flights of stairs on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to raise money for charity.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 5:00 am

Chris Smith, a firefighter from Sunderland Central, will take on the task on Saturday, September 11 at the Performance Fitness Centre in Leechmere.

Wearing his full fire kit and breathing apparatus, he will climb 110 flights of stairs to honour the emergency workers to passed away in the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in 2001.

In doing so, he will be raising money for The Firefighters Charity who help to support the families of those working in the fire service should they be injured or killed in the line of duty.

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Chris Smith is taking on the challenge to coincide with the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

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Chris, who is from Ashbrooke, told the Echo how the events that took place in New York City 20 years ago set him on the course for his career choice.

The 36-year-old said: “It sounds strange but it was actually one of the things that inspired me to become a firefighter, just seeing the bravery of both fire crews and the police going into the buildings was something that I wanted to do.

“The fire kit is designed to keep heat from getting in but it also stops it from escaping so I want to highlight how difficult it would have been for them to climb 110 stairs before they are even at the scene of the job.

"Obviously it is a really sad day, especially with it being the 20th anniversary but I want to try and turn it into something positive.”

He continued: “When you’re asked to go in, all your experience and training just kicks in and you just do it.

“Obviously it is stressful as you have to do it right first time every time but there is no better buzz than saving a person’s life and people wouldn’t survive without us.”

"It is basic human instinct to run when there is a fire but we have to fight against that and just focus on the job at hand.”

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