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Straight to the top for Snoqualmie firefighters

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SNOQUALMIE - When Snoqualmie firefighter Tanner Friebel reached the 20th floor of the Bank of America Tower in Seattle last Sunday, he knew he should have listened to those who had gone before him.

He was determined to not only get to the top of Seattle's tallest building in all his gear, but to race up its stairs. Others who had made the climb of the building, formerly know as the Columbia Center, warned him not to sprint, but Friebel insisted that his weeks of training would push him past the other firefighters and all the way to the top.

By the 20th floor, however, the 30 pounds of gear on his body was weighing heavy on Friebel. It also didn't help that the SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) he and all the other firefighters had to wear didn't let any fresh air in or moisture out.

"It was more than I could have imagined and then some," Friebel said.

But he made it to the top along with four other Snoqualmie firefighters who climbed up the stairs not to fight a fire, but lymphoma and leukemia. The group, which included firefighters Friebel, Jake Koehnen, Mark Harper, Mike Wallace and Brian Busby, took part in the 12th annual Firefighter Challenge that raises money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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