GCFD wins climb contest

ATLANTA - Gwinnett County firefighters successfully defended their Climb Atlanta title Sunday at the Bentley Forbes-Bank of America Plaza building in downtown Atlanta.

In fact, according to Gwinnett fire spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge, there was an 11-minute gap between Gwinnett fire personnel and the second place team. The competition - a 55-story climb inside the skyscraper - attracts several departments throughout the region. Gwinnett fire won its debut in the event in 2007.

Kirk Corsello, a 41-year-old Gwinnett firefighter assigned to station 3 in Lilburn, placed first overall with a time of 10 minutes and 33 seconds. An avid cyclist, it was the five-year veteran's first time competing in the event.

Gwinnett firefighter Thad Smith, an engineer at station 14 in Buford who also serves on the department's swiftwater rescue team, placed third. Smith placed first last year.

Gwinnett firefighter Steve Brown, an engineer at station 19 in Duluth, placed fifth overall.