Midland firefighters prepare for stair climb in honor of 9/11 - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Midland firefighters prepare for stair climb in honor of 9/11

(Source: KWES). (Source: KWES).
MIDLAND, TX (KWES) -

The Midland Fire Department is preparing for their annual stair climb for the victims of 9/11. They will be climbing more than 100 flights in 80 pounds of gear.

Firefighters wear 80 pounds of gear on a regular basis.

When first it didn't feel like a lot.

"It doesn't feel heavy right now, but I know it's going to feel really heavy," said reporter Chelsey Trahan.

When you get to moving though, it's tough.

"I don't even think I can bend over," she said.

After getting all suited up, Captain Lyndal Watkins and I prepared to climb a few flights of stairs, just a small portion of what Midland firefighters will do on Sunday.

"The highest known was 78 flights," said Watkins, referring to how many flights firefighters climbed on 9/11.

Watkins is a 17-year veteran of the Midland Fire Department. He became a firefighter just three months after 9/11.

"It was like, 'Oh man, what am I getting myself into?'" said Watkins.

Now yearly, the fire department puts on their full gear, climbing 22 flights of stairs five times, all while remembering those who climbed flight after flight, saving lives along the way.

"I don't think anyone really knows what they would do in those situations," said Watkins. "When you start seeing the family side of the people then it really hits home because it's like this could be us."

Our local firefighters are our heroes, but our heroes look up to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their community on Sept. 11, 2001.

"To me, it means never forget and our motto for stair climbs is, 'we climb because they climbed.' In all actuality, we just never forget everyone that lost their lives that day," said Watkins.

The stair climb will be this Sunday at 8 a.m. at the Wilco Building in Midland. The public can't participate, but they can be there to support our local heroes in the lobby of the building.

There will also be an open house this Saturday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Central Fire Station. You can meet your neighborhood firefighters and have a snack.

Bob Schneider will be performing on the Concho Resources stage at the Bank of America Plaza in downtown Midland from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets cost $25.

The flag raising ceremony will take place on Monday at the Bank of America Plaza to pay tribute to victim of 9/11.

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