ANAHEIM, Calif. --
Since 1970, the California Firefighter Olympics have been calling for all fire departments in the state to compete against one another for the thrill of sportsmanship and competition.
Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow’s own firefighters have been attending the Firefighter Olympics since 2001 and have represented Barstow Fire and Emergency Services well amongst their fellow firefighters across the state.
Recently, the Firefighter Olympics were held in Anaheim, Calif., from July12-17, where an estimated 42 firefighting agencies attended the event.
“It’s a pretty big deal and it’s probably the most prestigious sports event a firefighter can attend,” said Assistant Chief Paul Purdy, MCLB Barstow Fire and Emergency Services.
Barstow firefighters often finished in the top three places in their events and showed fierce competitive spirit in many individual and team events. MCLB firefighter John Shileika won the gold medal in the golf tournament and Shaun Longlee, another firefighter aboard MCLB, won the silver medal in an event called “over the line,” which consisted of each participant attempting to accurately throw a softball at a target, with additional points being awarded for accuracy.
“It’s just a friendly way for firefighters to take a break from work and enjoy some competition,” said Dell Warfield, a MCLB Barstow firefighter engineer who won the bronze medal in racquetball doubles.
Only full-time firefighters are allowed to compete in the Olympics. MCLB firefighter engineer Ruben Rodriguez placed fourth in racquetball singles and won gold in doubles with Warfield in the 2007 Firefighter Olympics.
“The olympics were fun to compete in and represent MCLB Barstow at the same time,” said Rodriguez.
“MCLB Barstow firefighters are always looking for a new challenge and coming from a small area like Barstow we had to prove ourselves,” said Warfield. “The Los Angeles firefighters had a lot of pride and many of the departments didn’t know who we were and didn’t expect much from us going into some of the events.”
The Firefighter Olympics give California firefighters a chance to learn from one another through athletics and was another opportunity for the firefighters from MCLB Barstow to bring home championship hardware after capturing the award for the best large fire and emergency service in the Department of Defense during 2008.