Otho firefighters finish stair climb

DES MOINES – Rushing up the stairs of a skyscraper in full fire gear is not an easy fundraiser.

“Your legs burn and your lungs burn, and you’re just drenched,” said Otho Fire Chief Marty Smith. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. I was in the service, and in track in high school and a lot of things. And it’s hard.”

Smith was one of six Otho firefighters who took part in Sunday’s Fight For Air climb in Des Moines, a fundraiser for the American Lung Association.

The six firefighters raised around $700, Smith said, and a total of about $230,000 was raised at the event by more than 1,000 participants.

“Our two teams did fine. The one I’m on, two of us had done the run last year, and we both improved on our time,” he said. “I improved almost a minute, and I think the other guy improved 25 or 30 seconds.”

He couldn’t remember how many steps had been required, but said he had run to the very top of the 25-story HUB Tower.

Overall rankings of the two teams were not available at press time.

“We’re hoping to place high,” he said. “They’ll put it on their site. We’ll find out in the next day or two.”