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Firefighters Honor Lung Cancer Victims With 'Vertical Road Race'

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Although firefighters worked up a sweat Saturday, it had nothing to do with a hot flame.

More than 400 people participated in the "Fight For Air Climb," a 38-floor physical fitness challenge in benefit of the American Lung Association. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1403 supported the event, now in its 13th year, at Miami's One Biscayne Tower.

"Every step we climb to the top is yet another step closer to finding a cure for those who suffer from lung disease," said Omar Blanco, IAFF Local 1403 President. "Today, we climb in honor of those who continue to fight against this terrible disease."

The professionally-timed climb is considered a "vertical road race" with full gear on, adding roughly an extra 45 lbs. of weight on their backs.

While some were there for the exercise or the challenge of winning, others climbed to honor someone who suffers from lung disease.

"Because of the toll that cancer has taken on many firefighters, specifically in our department, this is an event that we get behind and we support hugely ever year," said Humberto Quintela, MDFR Chief of Safety.

Last year, the team representing Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and IAFF Local 1403 was the largest first responder team in the nation.

"We are on track to have the largest team in the nation again this year, as well as working towards our team fundraising goal of at least $17,000 to support this great charity and event," said Quintela.

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