Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Thousands of people are without a refund after the company of a firefighter themed obstacle course cancelled its race.
A team of volunteer firefighters from Cayuga County want answers after they paid to compete in the nearly five-mile-race know as Hero Rush.
The company has now disappeared.
Throop Fire Department Volunteer firefighter Hilary Karlik and her friend Ryan Radell competed in Hero Rush back in June in Western New York and say it was a once in a lifetime experience.
The race features a grueling obstacle course where racers climb ladders, navigate through smoky mazes and even break down doors and windows.
“The general consensus was that it was the most fun we ever had," said Hilary Karlik.
“I thought it was one of the greatest things. I have never been in a race before and that was my first,” said Ryan Radell.
As intense as Hero Rush was, it was all for a good cause as part of the registration fee went to honor fallen firefighters and help their families.
“That definitely played a factor in signing up because I'm a volunteer firefighter and I know firefighters that have passed in the line of duty so I found it to be a good cause,” said Karlik.
Karlik says that's why she couldn't wait to sign up again - but just days after they registered and paid for the event - Hero Rush suddenly disappeared.
“Hero Rush company fell off the face of the earth pretty much and all of their websites are gone and any evidence of any Facebook pages they have are gone,” Karlik said.
“I feel really bad because I loved the experience and I don't want to hate the company but in the end people were scammed,” Radell said.
The company sent them an email and posted a note on their website saying they were cancelling all events, shutting down their business and would not be offering refunds due to insolvency.
“We were both just absolutely shocked and we didn't know if it was a joke just because it seemed like such a good thing. Thousands of people participated in that,” Karlik said.
Even after dozens of attempts, Karlik and Radell were unable to reach the organizers.
NewsChannel 9 attempted to contact the man listed as the CEO of the company - but he has not responded.
NewsChannel 9 did get in touch with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation who said they did have a good working relationship with Hero Rush and since 2012 they have received more than $31,000 from the organization.