Southern Manatee firefighters to heat up 'Good Morning America' on Friday; voting 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

jdeleon@bradenton.comJuly 11, 2014 

MANATEE -- Southern Manatee firefighters will be heating up the screen Friday on "Good Morning America."

Southern Manatee Fire Rescue is one of six semifinalists competing in GMA'S 5 Alarm Firefighters Challenge. The local firefighters hope their blazing hot video will score them the grand prize of $10,000.

Since Wednesday, GMA has aired the videos submissions from two semifinalists per day, giving the audience an opportunity to vote on their favorite of the day.

On Friday, Southern Manatee will hit the national airways with their video, which has gained attention in Manatee County since hitting YouTube. The hottest attraction for many has been the appearance of firefighter Justin Sperko, who is topless throughout the video.w

Firefighter Christi Hollins, who initially suggested Southern Manatee entering, will appear alongside firefighter Richard Gatanis, who shot and edited the video, and Chief Brian Gorski on ABC ActionNews' 6:30 a.m. segment Friday morning before GMA comes on.

"I'm exhausted, but I'm excited," Hollins said.

Voters will need to log on to Goodmorningamerica.com to vote for their favorite video from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If Southern Manatee makes the cut, Hollins, Gatanis and Sperko will travel, all-expenses paid, to New York to compete in the finals.

"I was ready to pay for it," Hollins said.

The three finalists will likely compete live in some sort of trivia game Monday, she was told by GMA officials.

"The first day someone will get sent home," Hollins said.

On Tuesday, the remaining two teams will battle it out live for the grand prize of $10,000.

If Southern Manatee wins, the money will be used for training, Gorski has said.

"I don't want to get discouraged, so I'm not watching the competition," Hollins said.

Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter @JDeLeon1012.

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