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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Firefighters took a break from the flames to participate in a charity event meant to challenge their fitness and honor victims of lung cancer.

On Saturday, hundreds of members of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department showed up for the 12th annual “Fight For Air Climb” Challenge at One Biscayne Tower, in benefit of Florida’s American Lung Association.

The challenge — climb 38 floors, or a total of 648 steps. It’s better known as a “vertical road race” to its participants, many of which climbed in full firefighter gear.

“Team Miami-Dade Fire Rescue did an amazing job this year,” said Bert Quintela, Chief Fire Officer, “Everyone who contributed to this cause helped our team reach and surpass our goal, but most important, helped us continue to fight lung disease.”

Lung disease is on the rise, especially among those who battle fires for a living, and donations collected will help fund research and provide education and advocacy efforts.

“Members of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Local 1403 are always looking to give back to the community they serve, by joining the Fight for Air Climb, the MDFR Team will help make a positive impact in the lives of those affected by lung disease,” said Erika Benitez.

The MDFR team raised more than $20,000 and wore t-shirts and helmets with the name of Lt. Julius Perez, one of their own who passed away earlier this year from cancer.


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