By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 26th annual weight loss competition between the Philadelphia fire and police departments has ended in a split decision.

The cops barely edged out the firefighters in the team competition, with an annual loss of about 11 pounds. But the biggest individual loser was fire lieutenant Edward Manko (second from right in photo).

How much does he weigh now?

“I started out at 298, and, whatever, 36 pounds off that.”

That puts him at a much healthier 262.  He says he did it primarily by cutting back on his intake.

“Mostly sticking with the Weight Watchers program. I didn’t get a whole lot of time to exercise,” he admits.

Both departments receive a microwave oven for their efforts.

Fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers (second from left) says the friendly rivalry is designed to emphasize the importance of fitness.

“When they’re working out, when they’re dieting properly, they’re able to perform their jobs,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “It’s very vigorous work, dragging hose lines, climbing ladders, placing ladders.  They have to be able to support themselves and their team members.”

In the team competition, each department has won 13 times.

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