Calif. engineer named ‘World’s Strongest Firefighter,’ first woman makes top 5

The strength competition, hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger, helped raise money for California fire departments

By Laura French

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — A California engineer was crowned the “World’s Strongest Firefighter” in a competition hosted by actor and bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger.  

Kern County Fire Department Engineer Ben Gallagher topped the competition, which included a 450-pound deadlift and 200-pound sandbag carry, according to the Arnold Sports Festival website. The event helped raise money for the Santa Monica Firefighters Relief Fund, Ventura County Fire Department Widows, Orphans & Assistance Fund and the CAL FIRE Benevolent Foundation.  

“Working for the fire department, it’s important for us to stay in shape. To be a good example for the communities we serve and the people I work with, it’s important to push physical fitness,” Gallagher told KGET


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The engineer came out on top amongst nine finalists in the competition. Also reaching the finals was St. Paul Firefighter Sarah Reasoner, the event’s first female competitor. Reasoner placed fifth and shared videos of the competition on Instagram.  

“I will never forget today. The support .and love from everyone was unreal. I got to compete alongside 9 of my brothers for the World’s Strongest Firefighter at @arnoldsports USA. I got to represent my department Saint. Paul Fire,” Reasoner wrote. “I will never forget @schwarzenegger getting up and yelling at me and helping me up after the sandbag carry.” 


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