Southern Manatee firefighters' spark fizzles on 'Good Morning America'

jdeleon@bradenton.comJuly 12, 2014 

MANATEE -- Southern Manatee firefighters' dreams of winning big on "Good Morning America" appear extinguished as the unofficial contest numbers did not look favorable when voting came to an end Friday.

On Friday morning, Southern Manatee Fire Rescue, along with Gulf Shores (Ala.) Fire Rescue, began to battle when their video submissions to GMA's 5 Alarm Firefighters Challenge were aired live. But only one of the two semi-finalists will proceed to the finals for a chance to score the hot prize: $10,000.

When voting closed at 3 p.m. Southern Manatee's lip-synch dance routine video had about 47 percent of the votes, while Gulf Shores had 53 percent.

Official results are expected to be announced on GMA Saturday morning.

Firefighter Christi Hollins, who organized the effort for Southern Manatee, was a little disappointed but still hopeful Friday afternoon.

"You never know with those number things," Hollins said.

Regardless of the contest's outcome, Hollins said there are no regrets.

"I would do it again in a second," Hollins said. "I'm ready for the next contest."

While it doesn't seem like the big cash prize is in their future, Hollins said the department still came out ahead.

"Everybody was so great, we had so much support, especially from the news me

dia," Hollins said. "Just the good recognition it got our department and our county alone was wonderful."

Wednesday's and Thursday's voting resulted in the McAllen (Texas) Fire Department and the Tacoma (Wash.) Fire and Rescue scoring two of the three spots in the finals.

All three finalist teams will be flown to New York this weekend to appear live on GMA.

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

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