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Fire games at UVU pits graduating firefighters against team of alumni

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Posted at 9:58 PM, Apr 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-30 23:58:32-04

OREM, Utah -- Firefighters graduating from Utah Valley University were put to the test this week in a face-off with alumni from previous classes.

The fire games were a grueling, physical task that challenged the entire team.

The new firefighters put 16 weeks’ worth of training to the test while the alumni brought experience to the table.

“We give them a run for their money, we give them a run” said Paul Mair of the West Valley City Department. “It’s always fun, a lot of fun. We need an opportunity to really hone our skills in, so, but it’s fun.”

This year, the alumni talked a big game.

“So it’s a good way for us to welcome the new guys into the alumni but still gives us a chance to come back and show them who is boss,” alumni team member Kevin Casciere said.

And their big talk was well justified, as the alumni team beat out the graduates in a series of challenges most people couldn't do without extensive training.

“So we started off with the apparatus pull, so we have two engines that are filled with water, you got four guys that are giving it all they got to pull it and get it through the bay,” Casciere said. “We had an ax relay where we were chopping through wood. We had a breach where we had to get through drywall, which helps us to simulate if we were trapped in a burning building and needed to get out through a wall."

The challenges are all designed to give firefighters the skills they need to save the lives they're trying to protect.

“We’ve all got tests coming up with different departments, and I think it’s going to make us work harder, show what we’re up against,” said Corey Metcalf, a graduating firefighter.

Metcalf said the most difficult part is getting accustomed to all that hard work, and he said he couldn't have done it without his fellow classmates.

“I’ve been with these guys for 16 weeks, and it went from just a couple guys taking a college course to... it’s like a family now, and I know I can call any of these guys and they’ll have my back," he said.

In the end, the victory went to the alumni team, but it's all in good fun.

“It’s really fun to see where everybody is at, we all start at the same place, and it’s fun to see where everybody’s lives are at after a couple years,” Mair said.