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Picayune team to compete in world championship

Team members of the Picayune Fire Department’s Combat Challenge Team are heading to the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge World Finals.

Five members of the Fire Department, Anthony Lossett, Joe Mack Russell, Josh Abercrombie and James Mitchell, will participate in the competition from Nov. 8 to Nov. 13, in Myrtle Beach, SC.

The team has competed in two combat challenges this year in order to qualify for the World Finals. The first took place on June 5, in Pearl where the team placed eighth out of 20 teams. On Aug. 7, the team also competed in a combat challenge held in Lubbock, Texas. There the team placed 17th out of 29 teams, Russell said.

The competition consists of a number of relay events that require firefighters to display their athletic abilities. All of the events mimic situations firefighters face when responding to a fire. Those events include a stair climb in full dress while carrying a high rise pack, hose heist, forcible entry, charged hose advance and victim rescue. The competition is conducted in relay fashion, where each team member tackles only one of the five events before the next team member can attempt the next event. The whole relay is timed and the team with the lowest time wins.

Picayune’s team members have been training on a mock course constructed at Station 1. A donation to the team made by the Southeast and Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Departments gave the team a real dummy to practice with. The dummy weighs in at 175 pounds, and must be dragged 100 feet by one firefighter.

In preparation for the event the Southeast and Pine Grove Volunteer Fire Departments will hold a benefit fish fry. The fish fry will be held Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m.  at the Southeast Volunteer Fire Department on FZ Goss Road, near the Union Baptist Church. Plates will cost $10. Proceeds will help the team pay for the entry fees and expenses associated with competing.

The team said it would like to thank the city council and the Pine Grove, Southeast and the rest of the county volunteer fire departments for their support.