Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

August 3, 2013

Games kick off firefighter conference

Kenneth Hart
The Independent

ASHLAND — Six teams of firefighters took part in an Olympic-style competition in Central Park on Saturday.

The games, which featured three adult and three junior teams, kicked off the Kentucky Firefighters Association’s 93rd annual conference, which is being held through Tuesday in Ashland.

The games featured five  events — ladder rescue, three-man ladder, bucket brigade, barrel fill and efficiency. In the adult competition, the Parkers Mill Fire Department placed first overall, the Ashland Fire Department second and the Southgate Fire Department third.

In the junior firefighter division, where competitors ranged in age from 15 to 18, the team from the Alexandria Fire Department came in first, followed by Ferguson and Southgate.

Winners received trophies and “bragging rights,” said Tiger Robinson of Somerset, chairman of the state Fire Commission and chief organizer of the games. Also, the first-place department in the adult division received the traveling chief’s trophy, which it will get to display until next year, he said.

Teams qualify for the state games by winning at the regional level, Robinson said. Also, the department from the conference’s host city — Ashland in this year’s case — gets to enter a team without it having to qualify first, he said.

AFD Deputy Chief Greg Ray said it been a number of years since the department had participated in the Firefighter Olympics. He said he was pleased with the department’s second-place showing, especially given the circumstances.

“There were a couple of events they didn’t even get to practice for because we didn’t have the equipment,” he said.

AFD Battalion Chief Duane Trimble said the department notched second-place finishes in the state Firefighter Olympic from 1990 through 1995. At one time, the regional event was held in the park as part of Summer Motion, he said.

The KFA conference continues today. Among the highlights will be a firefighter memorial service from 3 to 5 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1701 Winchester Ave. The ceremony will honor 77 Kentucky firefighters who have died in the past year, including two former AFD members, Harry “Huck” VanHorn and Albert “Hap” Alley, and two members of the Grayson Fire Department, Robert Hill and Hayden Haney.

The AFD Honor Guard will take part in the service.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.