London

This 58-year-old firefighter still trains despite gruelling competitions cancelled

Steve Baker has been a London firefighter for more than 30 years. The 58-year-old is two years away from retirement and a long-time FireFit competitor. He was supposed to be in Germany this week for a competition, but thanks to the pandemic, the event has been cancelled.

All of the FireFit competitions since May have been cancelled because of COVID-19

London firefighter keeps training for world competition

2 years ago
Duration 0:41
London district fire chief Steve Baker won't be competing at the Fire Fit championships in Germany because of COVID-19, but that's not stopping him from training on the street outside his house.

If you're just strolling by, London firefighter Steve Baker's workout might stop you in your tracks.

On a quiet residential street, dressed in full gear, 58-year-old Baker performs burpees, swings axes and hauls rescue mannequins across the road. 

"I get quite a few looks, Especially with that rescue mannequin lying on its back in the middle of the road," said Baker who is set to retire from the job in fewer than two years.

"People have squealed their tires, stopping and wanting to help out and apply CPR, but unfortunately, any amount of CPR isn't going to bring the rescue mannequin back," joked Baker who is district chief of Hall Number Two on Florence Street.

Baker, who is a 33-year-veteran of the London Fire Department, regularly competes in FireFit Championships, a series of competitions demonstrating the athleticism of the job. He's one of just five or six firefighters in the city who compete.

Unfortunately, since May, all of the events have been cancelled thanks to COVID-19 — including an international event in Germany — which was scheduled for June 15 and 16.

 

Despite the cancellations, Baker is still training.

"This is always a great activity to maintain that physical fitness...Having the season lost due to COVID-19, it would seem like such a waste not to able to at least still train for it," he said.

"It does create some stares, but I had a woman just walking by and ask what I was doing. She said it was really good to know that London firefighters are still doing activities and are keeping physically fit and better able to do their job."

Baker admitted he's getting a bit slower on the competition course these days, but he still loves it.

"Your body definitely slows down, the spirit does not, you know you're still going as fast as you think you can, and you hope you get better."

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