San Juan Island firefighters participate in stair climb challenge

Submitted by San Juan Island Fire and Rescue

San Juan Island Fire and Rescue firefighters will be training and raising funds for the 2020 Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Stairclimb from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22 at Friday Harbor Marketplace.

Lieutenants Michael Henderson, Gilbert Venegas and firefighters Michelangelo von Dassow and Brooke Sevier will be in full structural turnout gear — boots, pants, coat (liners intact), helmet, and gloves and using their breathing apparatus on a stair climber exercise machine in front of the market to raise money to fight blood cancers and prepare for their participation in the world’s largest on-air stair climb competition.

The four firefighters will compete in the 2020 Leukemia and Lymphoma Stairclimb on Sunday, March 8. They will join over 2,000 career and volunteer firefighters from throughout Washington and around the country in the race to climb the stairs to the top of the Columbia Center, Seattle’s tallest building.

The entirety of the course must be completed while wearing full turnout gear, while on-air. It takes 69 floors, 1,356 steps and 788 feet vertical elevation gain to reach the highly acclaimed Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor. This physically challenging competition is representative of the struggle that blood cancer patients endure.

The firefighters are dedicating their LLS fundraising climb in honor of former San Juan Island Fire District Commissioner John Jensen, who successfully battled multiple myeloma.

Please come root for our firefighters at Friday Harbor Marketplace and help us raise money to research and fight blood cancers.

Donations are also accepted on the SJIFR team’s LLS Firefighter Stairclimb page at

The San Juan Island Fire and Rescue was established on Oct. 6, 1958. The department covers about 55 square miles, includes all of San Juan Island, as well as Brown and Pearl Islands. For more information, visit