The Columbia Fire Department Explorer program is designed for youth between the ages 14 through 18 who are interested in becoming a Firefighter. This is a physically demanding program designed to give young adults an idea of what it takes to be a firefighter. Additionally members learn team building skills, responsibility, discipline, and fitness routines. We have access to great facilities to provide safe yet realistic training.


Captain Eller started as a volunteer with the City of Beaufort Fire Department in 2001. In 2002 he became a career firefighter with the City of Beaufort until 2006. He worked for Lexington Fire Service from 2006 to September 2007; and was hired with the Columbia Fire Department September 2007. He is now a Captain on Tower 9 Shift 3 and assists with the training of new recruits and senior firefighters.


Darius Johnson started out at the age of 16 as an Explorer with the City Of Sunrise Fire Rescue located in Sunrise, Florida (Broward County) back in 2007. He was an active member in the Explorer program up until his graduation from High School in June of 2009. Shortly after graduation he became a member of the Plantation Fire Department (also in Broward County, FL) in October of 2009. He remained a member there until September 2013, leaving at the rank of Lieutenant to pursue a career with the Columbia Fire Department. On October 14, 2013 he began his current career with the Columbia Fire Department. He is currently assigned as a Senior Firefighter to Ladder 14 Shift 1, serving the Dentsville community and Northeast Richland County.





Columbia Fire Department gladly support these additional CATE programs.


Career & Technology Education (CATE) courses prepares students for a wide variety of careers and further educational opportunities. We are at the forefront of preparing students to be college and career ready.





Contact Person

Explorer Leader, Captain Jacob Eller

1800 Laurel Street Columbia, S.C. 29201

Phone (803) 545-3700  cfdjeller@columbiasc.net

Contact Person

Explorer Leader, Senior Firefighter Darius Johnson

1800 Laurel Street Columbia, S.C. 29201

Phone (803) 545-3700    cfddjohnson@columbiasc.net