Seattle FF Andy Pittman | Climbing for a Cure


In 2016, 1900 Firefighters from five countries and 330 Fire Departments descended upon the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle, Washington to “climb” the tower in full firefighting suppression gear and on air to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Collectively, Firefighters raised $2.3 Million for the non-profit that specializes in blood-cancer research and providing patient/family services.

As Firefighters have over the last several years, they will once again commence together for the 26th year annual’s “climb” on  March 12, 2017.  This is a timed event where Firefighters climb inside the Columbia Center stairwells known as the second tallest building just west of the Mississippi in full fire suppression gear (firefighting coat/jacket, PPE, boots, gloves, helmet) and with their air bottles on.  It is a lot of extra weight as if they were actually fighting a fire (minus the equipment they would be carrying in).

Firefighters will climb up 69 floors with an 788 foot elevation gain and touching a whopping 1,356 steps to reach the infamous observation deck that overlooks the City of Seattle.

This iconic “Climb” is no feat for anyone that dares to rush up these stairs at any given pace.  As history reflects, Firefighters around the country and from over 300-plus Fire Departments will “fight” to reach the top of the building.  It is also a timed event where those race against the clock. Literally, like their Honorees.


This year, Climbers participating in the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb Challenge are asking their friends, loved ones and communities to help them all reach their $2.5 Million fundraising goal so that the LLS can save even more lives.  So many lives depend on this type of funding and you can help this Firefighter raise even more money.


As most of us know, Firefighters are seen as those who are running into a burning building and using their fire hoses to douse the flames or they have been seen using large pieces of equipment to “cut” out a person trapped inside a vehicle just involved in a car accident.  In other cases, Firefighters have also saved our pets.  Some media channels have shown just how they do this by providing oxygen to the injured pet that may have just been rescued from a house fire.

These are some of the ways they help save lives every day.


Their mission is clear and concise.  Climbing the Columbia Center is where it all happens for these Firefighters when they don their firefighting gear and air bottles, they must prepare themselves mentally, physically and emotionally.

These Firefighters put many hours upon hours of training to keep their stamina for their jobs with their respected Fire Departments.  They will also train hard for this event long before it even arrives.

Here is one Firefighter along with hundreds that is doing just that……


Firefighter Andrew “Andy” Pittman

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Today, we are speaking with Andrew “Andy” Pittman, a current resident of Port Angeles, Washington and Career Firefighter with the Seattle Fire Department for almost two years.  Prior to coming to work for the Seattle Fire Department, he was with the Port Angeles Fire Department as a Volunteer Firefighter for three years and a former resident of Alaska.

He will be climbing for the Seattle Fire Department team this year, but has been assisting with his home Fire Department (Port Angeles) climbing team with fundraising efforts.

FF Pittman, is husband to his beautiful wife Heather of eight years and father to children Kason (9), Kenna (7), Kellan (2) and Kamon (1).

Who or What inspired you to become a Firefighter?

“I joined as a volunteer to help fill a community need. I decided after a year of volunteering to try to get a Career Firefighter job. I saw that my life story molded itself to be able help people very well.  It also helped that I liked going to fires.

Where I grew up in Alaska there was no real Fire Department. If there were people in town that could help put out a fire then they went to help. The idea of helping out the community was appealing to me and that is how this really all started.”

As a Firefighter, what motivates you to do what you do everyday?

“For the climb……

I see how it affects families and see what the LLS has done to help people survive and think that is an awesome sight to see.

As far as work…..

There are many rewards that we get from the people we serve, whether it’s a successful CPR or a fire stopped before their family pictures were destroyed.  I think it’s really just an attitude of being able to help and looking for the good things In what we do.”

Is this your first Climb?

“I believe this is my fourth climb.  I climbed with Port Angeles FD three years prior.”

With this being your fourth climb, when do you start training for the Climb?

“I start usually in November or December with air packs.  The last month I try to get a little more intensive in my prep for it.

Now, I am investing about two-and-a-half hours per week into my event training.”


For those who may be new at Climbing for this event, what advice can you give them for this event?

I’d say just do it.  Don’t give up.  It is really a mental game. Much like anything g else. The prep work will determine the outcome but once you are in the stairs the attitude to succeed really determines whether you stop or not.”

How much have you raised for your Fundraising goal? What is your Individual fundraising goal?

“I’ve raised about $567 dollars. That’s not including what the Port Angeles team has raised. Since I live here, I assist them (Port Angeles Fire Department).


What ways have you taken part in your team’s or overall organization’s fundraising events that may be different from your last Climb?  

“That’s one of the things I like about this climb. My first year I climbed, I had to miss a local fundraiser with Port Angeles and somehow noticed that West Pierce Fire and Rescue was having a fundraiser near where I was scheduled to be that day. I called them and was able to partake in their fundraiser. Met awesome people and still was able to support the cause.

I am helping my home’s (Port Angeles) Fire Department with fundraising while working on my individual goal of $1500.00.”  

(Note: The Port Angeles FD page is The port Angeles team page is helppafirefightersbeatcancer)


Please tell us about your Honoree’s story and how your participation in this event is helping those like her.

When I first started the Challenges many years ago, I met Anne, a local Port Angeles girl. She was going through a tough battle.  Now, Anne has beaten cancer and I continue to climb for her each time.  I keep her close to my heart as I help to raise money for others just like her.”

How has this event and in years’ past “climbs” impacted  you, Anne and her family?

“Their family had really transformed the climb into a community event.  It’s shown me that you never know what challenges are around the corner and that you don’t ever have to go at them alone. There is always someone out there willing to help.”

Photo:  (r) FF Pittman w/Anne (c)


Seattle Firefighter Pittman along with his Brothers and Sisters cannot go at this fight alone but with your help they can beat their fundraising goal of $2.5 Million.  These much-needed funds will go to helping the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) organization in Washington and Alaska with cancer research and patient services.


Fundraising Page

69 flights I 1,311 steps 788 ft of vertical elevation
Climb. Conquer. Cure.

“Hello! I will be participating in the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb on Sunday, March 12th in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Please support me with a donation by clicking the donate button. Our efforts will help make a big difference in the fight against blood cancers. Thank you for your generosity!

What is the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb?


This You Tube video shows what the “climb” is all about.  Just watch and you will see this is no easy feat for anyone, but a stark reminder that these Firefighters know first-hand that what they do on this event day cannot be matched for what their Honorees will go through as they fight their own battles.

Firefighters say this is the least they can do to help raise money so their Honorees can have a better chance at a normal life and in being cancer-free.

Remember, that you can still donate to Seattle Firefighter Pittman’s Fundraising Page prior to the date of his climb.  This event will take place on March 12, 2017.


Thank you to the Seattle Fire Department, PIO Alice Kim and to FF Pittman for the great work you all do day in and night out.  We appreciate allowing us the Honor to share Anne’s story and FF Pittman’s efforts to raise money to find a cure for research and patient services through this great fundraising event.

– LR Swenson, FireWriter/Blogger

(c) 2017 The #NWFireBlog – Updated 2330 Hours PST







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