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‘Battle of the Shields’ honors memory of fallen firefighter

East Lincoln Fire Department firefighter Adam Tranum exits the low-profile box and runs to the finish line during the Josh Warren Memorial Battle of the Shields Fun Day held Saturday.

MICHELLE T. BERNARD
Staff Writer

Seven fire departments took part in the inaugural Josh Warren Memorial Battle of the Shields Fun Day held Saturday at the East Lincoln High School football stadium. The event was held to honor the memory of Joshua Lee Warren, a firefighter who worked for East Lincoln Fire Department and also part-time at the Alexis and Lucia-Riverbend departments, who died from an undiagnosed heart condition while on duty with the Alexis Fire Department.

Teams of firefighters from Alexis, Pumpkin Center, Denver, Sherrills Ford, Huntersville and two teams from East Lincoln negotiated seven different obstacles in order to complete the course. While this was all done for fun, the obstacles represented not only real challenges that firefighters see while fighting fires but are also part of the agility test that new firefighters must pass in order to be hired.

The obstacle that seemed the most difficult for the contestants to get through was the metal door that was barricaded shut on the back side with pieces of wood. After getting through the door, the team member had to then run to the next obstacle, which was a 165-pound dead weight dummy that had to be carried for 50 yards. The next was a Keiser Force Machine that, like the steel door, simulated forced entry. There was also a hose drag and a stair stepping obstacle that was negotiated while carrying hose. The last obstacle entailed the firefighter fully suiting up with full turn-out gear and an air pack and then crawling through a low profile box with a studded wall at the end. This box simulated a potential, hopefully last resort, escape route out of a house.

“We had a good turnout and given this is our first year it’s more for remembering Josh today,” East Lincoln Fire Department firefighter Gary Farmer said. “We plan to try to do it every year and make it bigger.”

The event also included a blood drive and a bake sale to raise money for a new playground at Catawba Springs Elementary School, where Warren’s two children attend.

“This is just another thing that the community has done to rally around me and my children,” Josh Warren’s wife, Kimberly Warren, said. “The firefighters from the East Lincoln department have become part of the family.”

Image courtesy of Michelle T. Bernard

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