Firefighters to climb stairs for Lung Association

Photo by Robert Ankrapp

Members of the Dearborn Heights Fire Department catch a breather during their practice for the American Lung Association’s March 6 Fight for Air Stair Climb fundraiser at the Renaissance Center in Detroit. The team practices each Monday by climbing nearly 100 flights of stairs at the Dearborn Heights Co-Op Tower. Team members include firefighter David Semizian (front row), pump operator Vaskin Badalow (back row, left), firefighter Jason Franks, Capt. David Brogan, firefighter Eric Walsh and firefighter Robert Flinn.

HEIGHTS – Ten firefighters from the Fire Department have gathered for a morning walk every Monday for the past several weeks.

In true firefighter fashion though, it’s a trek not many would be able to follow – unless they’re ready to run up and down nearly 100 flights of stairs, while they carry upward of 100 pounds of equipment.

The firefighters are practicing for the March 6 American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb fundraiser – a more than 70-story stair climb taking place at the Renaissance Center in Detroit. For the past several weeks, the team converges on the Dearborn Heights Co-Op Tower apartment building – in full gear – to make seven trips up and down the back stairway of the 14-story facility.

The team – one of several that will be participating in the event – is hoping to be among the event’s leading fundraisers. The team includes Capt. Dave Brogan; pump operator Vaskin Badalow; and firefighters Eric Walsh, Adam Kowalski, Phil Hall, Jason Franks, Bob Flinn Dave Semizian, Max Mitts and Mike Beer.

“We’re working hard to get ready for the event,” Brogan said. “It’s not going to be easy, but we’re determined to represent the Dearborn Heights Fire Department well, and we’re hoping the community will support us by pledging donations on behalf of our team.

“It’s a great cause. Many types of lung disease are on the rise. Through events like this, we can not only help increase public awareness of the problem, but we can also raise funds that will play a vital role in supporting the research we need to help eradicate these diseases. With lung disease on the rise, we are fighting for research that will find a cure for tomorrow.”

Fight for Air Climbs are unique fundraising events for the American Lung Association. They typically take place in prominent skyscrapers, stadiums or arenas and involve climbing multiple steps and flights of stairs.

Donations to the team can be made by calling (313) 791-3650 or going to the event Website,