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He saved his family's home from a wildfire. Now SLO firefighter is an 'American Ninja Warrior'

San Luis Obispo firefighter Thomas Kofron is no stranger to high-stakes situations. He saved his family's home from a devastating wildfire using only bottled water and orange juice.

On Wednesday, Kofron faced an even tougher challenge: surviving an extreme obstacle course on national TV.

Kofron, who works for Cal Fire and previously served at the Cambria station, appeared Wednesday on NBC's "American Ninja Warrior," which challenges competitors to prove their physical mettle in the hopes of winning $1 million.

Clad in tan pants and a backwards baseball cap, Kofron battled his way through a dinosaur-themed obstacle course at Universal Studios Hollywood inspired by sci-fi blockbuster "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom."

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound firefighter dodged obstacles such as the Floating Steps, Spinning Bridge and Doorknob Drop, with his parents, Angela and Chris Kofron, and brother, James Kofron, cheering him on from the crowd.

Kofron finished his qualifying round at No. 3 among the top 30 male competitors, with a final time of 3 minutes and 10.56 seconds. He'll go on to compete in the Los Angeles finals on a future episode of "American Ninja Warrior."

On Wednesday's episode, Kofron — who was just coming off his first season at the Cal Fire Cambria station — recounted how he saved his family's Ventura home and a neighbor's house from the Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres and destroyed 1,063 structures in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in December 2017.

"Everything around me was on fire," he recalled.

"I probably ran 200 to 300 laps around the house extinguishing small fires, putting out the front yard, the mailbox," Kofron said. "There was no water coming out of the hoses. All I had was water bottles and a half-jug of orange juice."

The 10th season of "American Ninja Warriors," which premiered May 30, features obstacle courses in Los Angeles, Dallas, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis and Philadelphia. The winners of those citywide competitions will move onto the national finals in Las Vegas, where they'll compete for a $1 million grand prize.

Tune in

"American Ninja Warrior" airs at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on KSBY.

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