Orange County Fire Rescue Pays Tribute to Fallen Firefighters of 9/11 with Fourth Annual 343 Hero Challenge

Community & Services

In honor of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Orange County Fire Rescue held its fourth annual 343 Hero Challenge fitness competition on Sept. 17 at Orange County Fire Rescue’s Training Facility, also known as the Fit Pit. The charitable event brought together firefighters, athletes, vendors and spectators in honor of the 343 fallen firefighters of 9/11.

“This event is one of our most important of the year as we honor the firefighters who sacrificed their lives for our country on Sept. 11, 2001,” said Orange County Fire Chief Otto Drozd III. “It is a day of remembrance and fellowship, but it’s filled with physical and mental challenges that are a testament to the courage those firefighters demonstrated on that fateful day.”

The annual 343 Hero Challenge event includes a mix of strenuous firefighting exercises and challenging CrossFit-style movements. One of the highlights of the day is the trademark 343 Hero Challenge, a simulation designed for competitors to experience a small glimpse of what it felt like climbing the Twin Towers on 9/11. Participants suited up in firefighter bunker coats with air packs, carried hoses and completed three minutes and 43 seconds of step-ups while viewing an impactful image from the 9/11 tragedy.

A variety of vendors attended to support the cause and raise money for the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.

For more information about Orange County Fire Rescue, as well as emergency and safety information, visit or contact Public Information Officer Kat Kennedy, (407) 836-9074.

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