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Bay firefighters to make dreams come true (+video)

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Anyone who has dreamed of one day becoming a firefighter now has the chance to be one for a day as part of a Bay of Plenty fundraising drive for charity.

Tauranga firefighters Shane Baker and Aaron Waterreus are auctioning a "once in a lifetime" ultimate firefighting experience to raise money for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.

The two Rotorua-based firefighters are taking part in the annual firefighter Sky Tower Stair Challenge on May 28 and are fundraising as part of their entry.

"We were sitting in the office thinking 'what can we do?'. We're both busy doing different jobs and sometimes we're not together but let's make this thing happen," Mr Baker said.

"We thought it would be a bit of fun, something a little bit different to baking stalls or sausage sizzles."

The winners of the auctions will spend a full day at the New Zealand Fire Service National Training Centre in Rotorua.

The purpose built training centre is like a Hollywood movie set with hotel, shops, and a petrol station that can all burst into flames at the push of a button. Winners will learn firefighting skills such as hose running, using fire extinguishers, using fire hydrants, climbing ladders, using breathing apparatuses and even the "Jaws of Life" which are often used to cut patients from car wrecks.

The winners will then be able to put their newly acquired skills to action in a range of fire and rescue "emergencies" on site.

"We call it a once in a lifetime firefighting experience," Mr Baker said.

He said there were many people who often grew up wanting to be a firefighter but never quite reached their goal.

We thought it would be a bit of fun, something a little bit different to baking stalls or sausage sizzles.
Firefighter Shane Baker

This was a way those people could finally make their dreams a reality, he said.

This was the first auction of its kind for the New Zealand Fire Service, which was enlisting extra staff to help run the day and emergencies, Mr Baker said.

The auction has already netted one winner, who bid $2500 for the experience.

Mr Baker and Mr Waterreus were now re-listing the auction on Trade Me in search of the second person.

"The name of the game is to raise as much money as we can," Mr Baker said.

Mr Waterreus said the winners would get to do "absolutely everything a firefighter does on duty, except it will be busier".

"We will go to lots and lots of jobs. We'll have a chemical spill, fire in a house, hotel fire, car accident, everything the fire service responds to," he said.


"It's going to be a great day."

View video (right) of Mr Waterreus explaining the day

Mr Waterreus said the only limitation would be from the winners themselves.

"It's whatever they are comfortable doing. If they are not flash with heights we won't be hanging them from a ladder anywhere."

Mr Waterreus took part in the Sky Tower Challenge last year and said he wanted to make a real impact this time around.

"I'm not a fan of going out and shaking a bucket so this is a good way to raise awareness and money for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand," he said.

Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand is the national organisation dedicated to supporting patients and their families living with a blood cancer - leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma or a related blood condition.

To bid on the auction go to: and search Ultimate Firefighter Experience or listing number 1084469309.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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