Three Southlake Firefighters (Lt. Frank Molinets, Engineer Van Wakefield, and Engineer J.W. Stone) and six other North Central Texas Firefighters make up the nine-member Chisholm Trail Rescue Team (CTRT). The team recently competed in Grimpday Competition in Belgium from September 7 – September 10, 2022.
Grimpday is an international challenge that brings together search and rescue teams from around the world (firefighters, civil defense, military, and police). The challenge takes place in Namur, Belgium, where teams compete against each other through exercises involving the unique elements of search and rescue in hazardous environments. This event was created in 2006 by Namur’s regional fire department members.
Southlake Fire Lieutenant Frank Molinets said, “This was one of the most amazing experiences that I was able to be a part of. It is the Olympics of the rope rescue world.”
The CTRT competed in 10 events total, including the “Dalton,” which was a rescue from a rollercoaster with a 190ft ascent, and patient rescue at 100ft above the surface. They also competed in the “Highline,” which was a water rescue over a canyon at 140ft. The North Central Texas team ranked 16th out of the 24 teams that competed, with a team from Japan taking overall first in the competition.
The CTRT put themselves in the running for Grimpday by competing in the Texas Rescue Competition in late 2021. Since then, they have worked tirelessly in preparation for this event, honing their skills with over 500 training hours since January. The team also was able to fundraise over $7,000.00 for their trip.
The skills the team displayed at Grimpday directly benefit the local community. The Southlake Fire Department and Northeast Tarrant County (NEFDA) are trained and supported by the CTRT, which is now internationally recognized.
“We had the ability to see and learn from the best of the best, and it is now our responsibility to pass that knowledge on,” stated Molinets.