Daniel Jones, a firefighter with the Jones County Fire Department, took on and completed the stair challenge Sept. 11 at Elite Fitness in Gray to pay tribute to the firefighters who lost their lives saving others on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York.
The challenges involves a simulated climb of 110 flights of steps in full turnout gear.
Jones said he was born and raised in Colorado, but moved to Jones County in 2004. He said he met the love of his life in Jones County, who has recently also joined the Jones County Fire Department.
“I did this as a tribute to the fallen firefighters,” he said. “The firefighters on Sept. 11 in New York couldn’t stop going up the steps to save people. On that day 343 firefighters died trying to save people.”
Margie Daniel, Jones’s mother, was there to support his effort. She said ever since her son was young he loved seeing fire trucks. She noted that he could take off his equipment while doing the challenge, but on Sept. 11, 2001 those firefighters could not.
It took the Jones County firefighter 42 minutes to reach his goal.
“Daniel is so committed to the fire department here in Jones County, and I am so very proud of him for that. This was such a great tribute to all the fallen firefighters and his dedication as a firefighter,” the mother said.
Jones said it was important to honor the firefighters and others who died on Sept. 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center fell due to a terrorist attack. He said his family has a strong military history and he enjoys helping others. “I’ve been a firefighter for 14
“I’ve been a firefighter for 14 years,” he said. “It’s been a lot of going to work without any sleep, but it’s worth it. I just have to do it.”
The firefighter said this was the first year he’s ever attempted doing the 110 flight of stairs challenge. He said it was hot attempting the challenge with all of his gear on, which weighs roughly 75 pounds.
“I was just thinking I had to make it through this. I know it was a lot hotter for those firefighters on Sept. 11, because they were fighting fire on the way up. I can just imagine what they did and how they felt,” he said.
Jones said as far as he knows he’s the first to try the stair challenge in Jones County. He said other firefighters shouldn’t have to do the challenge in Jones County, but it would be great if they attempted it.
He said his son wanted to be a firefighter for Halloween, so he bought him a firefighter outfit to wear. He said his son wants to follow in his footsteps one day. Jones said he will probably attempt the challenge again next year.
“I’ve never been in a situation like up in New York, but I’ve been to bad fires here in Jones County,” the firefighter said. “I haven’t had to climb that many stairs to help someone. You do what you have to do to help people, though.”