The 13th Annual Firefighters’ Chili Challenge, sponsored by the City of Akron, will take place inside the Lock 3 dining area on Friday, January 18th from 11AM until 1PM (or earlier, if the chili runs out)!
Each year, Akron firefighters issue the challenge to see who can create the best chili, served to Downtown employees and visitors. Some chili variations are traditional, while other teams set themselves apart with distinct flavors and ingredients. Tickets for six samples of chili and a beverage are $10. Individual chili samples are available for $1.50. Beverages are also available for $2. All proceeds benefit Akron Children’s Hospital Burn Institute.
“I look forward to the Chili Challenge every year and tasting the newest flavor combinations and tried and true traditional recipes cooked up by our various competitors,” Mayor Horrigan said. “I encourage everyone to come to Lock 3, enjoy some delicious home-cooked food, and join in the friendly competition in support of Akron Children’s Hospital. May the best chili win!”
The 2019 competitors include the Akron Fire Department, The Akron Police Department, the City of Akron Human Resources Department, ARCADIS, Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital and the City of Akron Office of Integrated Development. Teams will be competing for Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice, and the Joe Smith Spirit Award. The Joe Smith Spirit Award was created in honor of Detective Joe Smith, an active supporter and participant in previous chili challenges, who passed away in 2014.
To say that Akron firefighters were busy Friday morning is an understatement.
After battling an early morning house fire, firefighters made a quick turnaround to head over to an elementary school -- delivering hundreds of coats, hats and gloves to students.
Hundreds of students lined up in the cafeteria at McEbright CLC to make sure their new coat fit just right. Each coat was personalized with the students' name -- hats and gloves included.
Firefighter Matt Coleman organized this year's Operation Warm event.
"It gives all of us firemen a perspective on the meaning of Christmas and getting to come out and touch the community in a different way," said Coleman.
Click the image below to view additional photos from the Operation Warm event.
But before some firefighters could prepare for Friday's coat delivery, they were busy battling a house fire on Marvin Avenue in Highland Square.
"Four of these guys pulled a guy out a building and save him around 7:45 this morning. They went back, took a shower and now they're here handing out coats."
Just hours before, half of the firefighters at the event were battling a house fire on Marvin Avenue in Highland Square around 6 a.m. The blaze left one man with first and second degree burns. The man was found about eleven minutes after fire crews arrived had to be rescued. At least one other person escaped without help.
Mike Kranek was one of the firefighters who responded to the morning blaze, but he wanted to make he didn't miss out on this year's Operation Warm event.
"Some of these kids probably don't have much of a Christmas so if we can do a little something to make they're day better, that's what it's all about," said Kranek.
It was a morning filled with emotions for Kranek and his fellow firefighters.
"You're going a 100 miles a minute going to the fire, and then you deal with the fire and you're exhausted," said Kranek. "And then you go home to take an shower and you get rejuvenated because you know this is important."