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Philadelphia Fire Department Evens Score In 24-Year Weight Loss Rivalry

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(Fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers and weight-loss champ Stephen Hess hoist the "Battle of the Badges" weight loss trophy.  Photo by Paul Kurtz)

(Fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers and weight-loss champ Stephen Hess hoist the “Battle of the Badges” weight loss trophy. Photo by Paul Kurtz)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Philadelphia Fire Department has earned bragging rights for the upcoming year after winning its 2010 weight loss competition against the Philadelphia Police Department.

Fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers (second from left) had the honor of hoisting the trophy after his department got its 12th win in this 24-year interdepartmental rivalry.

“The score is even up, I believe it’s 12-12 right now,” said Ayers. “We’re going into the 25th year anniversary and the tie will be broken.”

Ayers and a representative from sponsor Weight Watchers also presented a microwave oven to Stephen Hess (second from right), a retired firefighter who was the biggest loser this year.

“I was a little over 300 pounds, something like that,” said Hess, who is nearly 6½ feet tall. “I lost 50 pounds on their program.”

The former firehouse cook has donated the microwave oven to his former unit, Battalion 13 in Northeast Philadelphia.

Ayers says microwaves are part and parcel of the fire department.

“One of the things that we do is not only cook but heat and reheat, things like that. A lot of folks bring their food in from home, and they really service the fire department well,” he said.

The 2011 competition begins in a few weeks.

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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