4 CRFD Crews Honored with Department’s ‘Phoenix Award’

In mid-December, 14 members of the Columbia-Richland Fire Department were recognized for the life-saving medical care they provided to citizens on the scenes of four separate emergency incidents.

Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins presented the Phoenix Award to each honoree during a series of recognition ceremonies at CRFD Headquarters.

“The Phoenix Award is presented to personnel who make critical judgements and actions to preserve the lives of injured or ill patients in the care of our department,” Chief Jenkins said, “I applaud each of these members on the work that they did helping members of our community. They gave four of our citizens a chance at life on the scenes of major medical calls.”

CRFD congratulates the following members of our staff who were honored:


2nd Shift – Battalion Chief Jacob Eller and Rescue Company 4

Battalion Chief Jacob Eller

Fire Captain Austin Graham

Engineer Garrit VanAmerongen

Engineer Daniel Watson

Firefighter Christian Johnson

On August 4, 2022 the personnel pictured above worked together to perform life-saving CPR on a male citizen. After administering an AED, the patient began to breathe again. He was later transported by Richland County EMS.

(pictured from left: Engineer Daniel Watson, Firefighter Christian Johnson, Engineer Garrit VanAmerongen, Fire Captain Austin Graham & Battalion Chief Jacob Eller)

Battalion Chief Jacob Eller was off duty at the time. He began performing CPR on the patient first before Rescue Company 4 got to the scene of the incident.


2nd Shift – Ladder Company 14

Fire Captain Austin Graham

Engineer John Munn

Senior Firefighter Francisco Mora

Firefighter Alexander Fant

On October 7, 2022 personnel on Ladder Company 14 performed lifesaving CPR on a citizen that had gone into cardiac arrest. When Richland County EMS arrived on scene to transport the patient, he had a pulse.

(pictured from left: Firefighter Alexander Fant, Senior Firefighter Francisco Mora, Engineer John Munn and Fire Captain Austin Graham)


2nd Shift – Engine 17

Engineer Robert Hollis

Senior Firefighter Mark O’Donnell

The crew of Engine 17 effectively administered rescue breathing and drug overdose treatment for an unresponsive patient on November 9, 2022. Richland County EMS later arrived on the scene and transported the patient to an area hospital.

(pictured from left: Senior Firefighter Mark O’Donnell & Engineer Robert Hollis)


3rd  Shift – Engine 3

Fire Captain Gary Walters

Engineer Dave Ellisor

Senior Firefighter Matthew Valencia

Firefighter Kobe Little

On November 10, 2022 the crew of Engine 3 delivered life-saving CPR to a female citizen that had gone into cardiac arrest. The patient reportedly had no pulse when our firefighters began working on her but after they administered an AED the patient’s pulse was regained.

The patient was later rushed to an area hospital by Richland County EMS and reportedly still had a pulse when she arrived there.

(Pictured from left: Firefighter Kobe Little, Senior Firefighter Matthew Valencia, Engineer Dave Ellisor and Fire Captain Gary Walters)