Hopkins County native named world’s strongest firefighter

Hopkins County native named world’s strongest firefighter
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 3:03 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 8, 2023 at 8:19 PM CST
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EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - If your house was burning, would you want the strongest firefighter in the world there to help put it out? Well, that could happen in Texas since the man holding that title was raised in Hopkins County and works in Rockwall.

Andrew Burton was declared the World’s Strongest Firefighter at the Arnold Sports Festival held in Columbus, Ohio last weekend. And yes, it’s that Arnold: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

And Burton can lift stuff. Like a 225-pound fire hydrant.

“It all started with, like, football workouts. You know, I was more entertained and had more fun chasing big numbers and things with the football workouts. And then I started power lifting,” Burton said.

The big numbers are, of course, big weights. But he thought the repetitive lifts might cause an injury, so he moved to strongman competitions.

“Strongman incorporates a lot of things like lifting heavy implements up to your chest or to your shoulder. And dragging them, moving them in any way possible. So, that kind of applies more to fire service,” Burton said.

He wouldn’t have to move a fire hydrant, but firefighting equipment has to be put in place.

“Even just the idea of moving a human being from like a burning structure to a window is actually extremely hard to do,” Burton said.

He was looking on the internet one day and stumbled across the World’s Strongest Firefighter event at the Arnold Sports Festival.

“That sounds really cool,” Burton said.

He and more than 100 other entrants were whittled down to 10 during the two-day competition. There were four events.

“They called it the ambulance tire deadlift. They had tires on the bars,” Burton said.

He says it was about 575 pounds, as many times as possible.

“We did a sandbag carry,” Burton said.

Walking with 220 to 300 pound bags for time, then the:

“Lateral Axe Hold, an axe out to your sides,” Burton said.

Twenty-five pounds each for as long as possible, and finally:

“The Hydrant Load. That was four hydrants ranging from 175 to 250 pounds,” Burton said.

Long story short, he won.

“My brain couldn’t really think of anything else except just don’t start crying on stage,” Burton laughed.

The title, and of course the big bad picture.

“He showed up and it was awesome,” Burton said.

Yes, with Arnold himself. And once he and his wife get back home, you can probably guess who carries in the groceries, although she does help him out. He might be a little tired by the end of the day.

Andrew says most of the competitors were from the U.S. although there were some from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Canada and Great Britain. He plans on competing again next year.

KLTV 7′s Jamey Boyum talks with Andrew Burton, who was declared the World’s Strongest Firefighter at the Arnold Sports Festival last weekend.