Originally created 11/22/06

Fort firefighter is world's best



Brandon Cunningham can claim he's the best firefighter in the world.

Despite posting his slowest time of the year, Mr. Cunningham won the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge world championship in Henderson, Nev., on Nov. 11.

"I'm excited. This is something I've worked for all year. I'm just happy to finally achieve it," said Mr. Cunningham, an Evans resident who has been a member of Fort Gordon's fire department for about a year.

About 800 firefighters from the U.S. and Canada competed, he said.

The challenge includes a series of five tasks related to the firefighter's job, including dragging a 175-pound mannequin 100 feet backward and running a slalom course with a firehose.

The Fort Gordon team competed in regional tournaments and the national event beginning in the spring.

Mr. Cunningham finished either first or second in all of the competitions in which he participated.

His time hovered around 1 minute, 26 seconds throughout the season, with his best showing - 1:24 - in Evansville, Ind., on Sept. 30.

In Henderson, Mr. Cunningham's score in the finals was 1:29.

"It was a really slow course," he said. "It was really slippery. Lots of guys got hurt. One broke his leg, and another sprained his ankle."

Only two competitors had times less than 90 seconds.

Mr. Cunningham started competing while in the Air Force in 2003. His previous best finish was fourth.

Fort Gordon's team placed 10th overall, and several other Fort Gordon firefighters placed among the top 100.

The fort's assistant fire chief, Matt Williams, placed fourth in the chief's category.