NC, SC firefighters ride bikes to support comrades

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) - Firefighters from North and South Carolina are closing out a five-day, 400-mile bicycle ride to show support for their fallen comrades.

The Gaston Gazette reports that the Carolina Brotherhood is riding from Wilmington to Asheville as temperatures push well into the 90s. Joe Hallam of the Asheville Fire Department said the group tries to stop about every 20 miles. The ride has averaged 75 miles per day.

This year's ride honors Asheville Fire Department Capt. Jeffrey Bowen, who died fighting a fire in a medical office in July 2011.

The Carolina Brotherhood has raised more than $35,000 for the Bowen family. Bowen left behind a wife and three children.

Organizer Jim Squittieri of the Charlotte Fire Department said the group turned away 50 cyclists for this year's event.

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