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New requirements to be enforced for food trucks operating in Columbia

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Starting next year food trucks conducting business within the capital city will be required to meet new guidelines set by the latest edition of the International Fire Code.

“This initiative by our department will help ensure that all food vendors operating a food truck within the city will be safe while serving their customers,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “Many people love to visit food trucks to grab a quick bite during the work week or at weekend events. Our goal is to make sure that these vehicles have all the necessary equipment onboard to prevent or mitigate fires and other hazards.”

Mobile food trucks have become fixtures for many downtowns, business districts and events. While they offer convenient dining options and unique eating experiences, these ‘virtual restaurants’ also create safety challenges. I recent years increased fire incidents and gas explosions have led to a closer review of safety regulations and inspections.

As a result, the International Code Council developed a section for the 2018 edition of the International Fire Code (IFC) to address mounting fire safety concerns. Requirements include a wide range of fire safety features — from fire suppression to safeguarding of LP (liquefied gas) and CNG (compressed natural gas) systems.

The Columbia Fire Marshal’s Office will start enforcing these new requirements beginning on January 1, 2020 when the regulations will go into effect in South Carolina. All new and existing food preparation vehicles containing cooking equipment that produces smoke or grease-laden vapors are subject to the new rules. These vehicles include food trucks, concession trailers and similar vehicles used for cooking, preparing and serving food to the public.

            Here are a few excerpts from the new guidelines:



  • Cooking equipment that produces grease-laden vapors requires a Type I kitchen exhaust hood.
  • Type I kitchen exhaust hoods require an automatic fire-extinguishing system.

Image result for 2a10bc fire extinguisherImage result for class k fire extinguisher


            2A: 10BC                                              Class K 


  • At least one 2A:10BC fire extinguisher and one 1.5-gallon Class ‘K’ fire extinguisher are required for up to four fryers with a medium capacity of 80 pounds.
  • Gas cooking appliances must be secured and connected to the fuel supply piping with an appliance connector complying with ANSI Z21.69/CSA 6.16
  • For appliance son casters, restraining devices are required.
  • Cooking oil storage containers must not exceed 120 gallons and must be properly secured against spills.
  • Cooking oil storage tanks must be listed for their use (e.g., UL 80, UL 142).
  • Individual-capacity, nonmetallic tanks must not exceed 200 gallons.
  • Cooking oil tanks must have normal and emergency venting capabilities.



  • Exhaust systems — including hood, grease removal, fans, ducts and other accessories — must be inspected and cleaned regularly.
  • Fire extinguishers must be recertified annually.
  • Automatic fire-extinguishing systems must be serviced every six months.
  • LP gas containers and fuel-gas piping systems must be inspected annually and labeled by an approved U.S. Department of Transportation inspection agency
  • CNG containers must be inspected every three years. Containers must not be used past the expiration date on their label.
  • The inspection agency must label the fuel gas system or another part of the food truck with a tag indicating name of agency and date of inspection.
  • All electrical devices must be properly maintained.



  • The maximum aggregate capacity of LP gas containers used in food trucks is 200 pounds.
  • LP gas containers must be securely mounted and restrained.
  • LP gas containers must meet NFPA 58 requirements for design compliance.
  • The maximum aggregate capacity of CNG containers transported by the vehicle is 1,300 pounds of water capacity.
  • Containers must be properly secured.
  • CNG containers must be NGV-2.
  • When CNG containers and system are used to supply fuel for cooking as well as transportation, they must be installed in accordance with NFPA 52.
  • Piping for LP gas systems, including valves and fittings — must be protected from tampering, impact damage and damage from vibration.
  • The vehicle must have a listed LP gas alarm in the vicinity of the LP gas components, in accordance with manufacturer instructions.
  • All CNG components and system piping must be safe from tampering, damage and impact during transportation and use.
  • Vehicles using CNG must have a methane alarm.



All mobile food trucks are subject to fire inspections.

  • Inspections for business and peddler’s licenses must be done by appointment at the commissary site indicated on the application within the City of Columbia.
  • Food trucks that do not comply will have 30 days after an inspection to do so.
  • Compliant food trucks will be issued a sticker (to be displayed in a prominent location at or near the service window) and recommended for business or peddler’s license approval.
  • Copies of inspection orders and reports must be kept in a safe place inside the food truck for review.


Other codes and standards not listed above may also apply. All licensed food trucks must be registered through the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles and meet S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control requirements.

You can find more information on these new requirements by visiting the National Fire Protection Association’s website.

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Increase in cooking-related fires expected during Thanksgiving Holiday

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With many households across our area getting ready to fire up their stoves and turkey fryers for Thanksgiving Day, Columbia Richland firefighters want to stress the importance of USING CAUTION while you prepare your holiday feast.

“Each year Thanksgiving Day is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment,” said Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “Furthermore the damages that can be produced when a turkey is deep-fried carelessly or incorrectly can be significant and life-changing. The simple way to keep that from happening is to remain alert and follow all safety guidelines while cooking.”

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that in 2017 fire departments across the U.S. responded to an estimated 1,600 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.

To help ensure your Turkey Day remains trouble free, here are a few safety tips:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave a lit candle unattended nor sleep while candles are lit.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
  • If you have a small grease fire on your stovetop and decide to fight it, smother the flames with a lid cover and turn off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. If the grease fire is in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off.

  • Keep a Class ABC Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher handy in the event you have a growing grease fire.  NEVER use water to try to extinguish a grease fire. If you ever have doubts about fighting a small fire get out of your house and call 9-1-1.


The NFPA has discouraged the use of turkey fryers citing the extreme danger if they’re used improperly

If you choose to deep fry your turkey: 

  • Keep the fryer outdoors, on a level surface and at least 10 feet from all combustible materials; preferably on a hard surface such as a driveway.
  • Use an approved fryer. These have four legs, a built-in thermostat, and are stable. You should be easily able to measure the oil’s temperature while cooking it to prevent a fire.
  • Follow all instructions. Even before turning the fryer on, make sure to read all of the instructions. Be careful when choosing the right size, how to cook the turkey, and what kind of oil to use with it.

  • Thaw and dry out the turkey completely before frying!!
  • Never leave the turkey fryer unattended! As soon as you turn the fryer on, never leave it alone. Also remember to use insulated gloves instead of oven mitts; the gloves have more insulation.
  • Be careful of splashing oil! Make sure that the fryer is moved away from all combustible materials, including your property, grass, furnishings, etc.
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Annual Mocktail Mix-off Raises Funds for MADD South Carolina

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The fire department was once again proud to play host to the annual Zero Proof Mocktail Mix-off to raise funds in the fight against drunk driving.

Dozens of people would turn out for the event, which was held on Sunday, November 24, 2019 inside the bay at department headquarters. Guests would once again get to see area bars and resteraunts compete to see who had the best non-alcoholic beverage in the Columbia area. The event also featured live music, food and even a live camel on site!

All proceeds raised from ticket sales went to benefit MADD South Carolina.

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14 Firefighters Recognized for Promotions at Fall Ceremony

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On Wednesday, November 20, 2019 Columbia Richland Fire once again took time to recognize all of our members who received promotions over recent months.

With their friends, families and firefighter breathren looking on, 14 members of the department would offcially be badged for their new positions by Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins. The promotional ceremony would take place inside the bay at department headquarters.

Here is a complete list of the honorees:

Senior Firefighter

Effective July 27, 2019

James Johnson

Matthew Johnson



Effective May 18, 2019

Justin Epps

Effective July 27, 2019

John Cook

Effective October 5, 2019

Michael Richardson                           Seth Sheppard

Steve Robarge                                     Michael Winnington

Fire Training Officer

Effective July 15, 2019

Yuhanna Muhammad


Fire Captain

Effective July 27, 2019

Jonathan Bond                                  Chad Alexander

Samuel Biber

Effective October 5, 2019

David Cooper

Michael Deal



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2019 MADD Mocktail Mix-off is Sunday, November 24th

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On November 24, 2019 Columbia Richland Fire once again will be teaming up with MADD South Carolina to raise funds in the fight to end drunk driving!

The 2019 MADD Zero Proof Mocktail Mix-off will take place at department headquarters — 1800 Laurel Street — beginning at 3 p.m. Area merchants will be competing to find out who has the BEST non-alcoholic mocktail in our area! There will also be food and other fun festivities leading up to the announcement of the winner before 5 p.m. !

To purchase tickets to the event click here.

We hope you will come out and join us Sunday, November 24th for some mocktail merriment!

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Military heroes honored at 2019 Veterans Day Parade in Columbia

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Columbia Richland Fire was once again thrilled to take part in the annual Veterans Day Parade in parts of downtown Columbia on November 11, 2019.

Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins would lead the department’s members and several firetrucks as the parade made its way down Sumter Street. Each year the parade is organized by the city’s department of parks and recreation.

It was wonderful to see how many people came out to give our veterans a resounding ‘Thank you!’



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Station 20 scares up great fun at annual Halloween Festival

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The annual Halloween Festival hosted by staff at CFD Station 20 in Ballentine was once again a huge success this year.

Dozens of people ventured out to the station on Halloween Night, October 31 to enjoy free food and treats. There was also plenty of fun activities for children.

Each year department members at Station 20 host the free event with the support of donations. This year’s Halloween Festival was made possible thanks to contributions from Wilson’s Refrigeration & Air as well as Plex HiWire.

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Citizens encouraged to assess home heating systems before use during colder weather

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With colder mornings forecasted heading into this weekend, leaders of Columbia Richland Fire are asking residents to inspect and make any necessary repairs on their home heating devices before turning them on for the long winter season. Citizens are also strongly encouraged to monitor space heaters and fireplace fires if they intend to start either in their homes.


“The arrival of colder weather always goes hand in hand with the increased risk of property fires,” said Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “That risk can be GREATLY diminished with regular maintenance of your home’s heating system. Also, the use of fireplaces is expected to go up as we get into the holiday season. That creates a risk for more chimney fires in area homes.”

Each year heating systems are a leading cause of home fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The NFPA has also reported that heating equipment was involved in more than 54,000 reported U.S. home fires from 2011 to 2015. In many cases the leading factor contributing to the home heating fires was a failure to clean the heating equipment.

Here’s a few tips to heat your home safely this winter, courtesy of NFPA:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heaters.

  • Never use your oven to heat your home. 
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. 
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month. 
  • Never use a portable generator inside your home. Place it outside and at least 10 feet away from the building. 
  • Install wood burning stoves following manufacturer’s instructions or have a professional do the installation. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. 
  • Install and maintain CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or gas company.

For more information on how to heat your home safely this winter, click here.

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Fire department stressing safety to prevent ‘scary’ outcomes for Halloween

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With Halloween Night creeping closer, Columbia Richland Fire is asking families to not only be thinking of costumes and candy but also the fire-related risks that the holiday can bring.

Specifically, those fire dangers are present with the increased use of candles and Halloween attire and decorations that can be highly flammable.

“The combination of open flames and certain decorative fabrics can be a recipe for disaster,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey. D. Jenkins, “We encourage residents to use battery-operated lights for Halloween decorations whenever possible in place of candles. Making that simple substitution is one of the easiest ways to ensure your family’s Halloween doesn’t turn scary for real.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association decorations are the first thing to ignite in 800 reported home fires each year. More than one-third of these fires were started by a candle.

Here are some other safety tips to keep in mind to keep for your family during the Halloween season:

  • When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out.
  • Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.

  • Use a battery-operated candle or glow-stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
  • If your children are going to Halloween parties at others’ homes, have them look for ways out of the home and plan how they would get out in an emergency.                                                                       

Also, here are some added points on candle use:

  • Extinguish candles by taking away oxygen from the wick. You can use a candle snuffer to extinguish your candles or other non-combustible materials. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 1 foot (30 centimeters) away from anything that can burn.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
  • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.

Finally, NEVER ever leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle!  Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children’s reach, in a locked cabinet.

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Rescue 2 Firefighter will Donate Part of Liver to Help Woman with Cancer

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Each day the firefighters of our department throw on turnout gear and jump on firetrucks ready to protect property and save lives. It is a call to help others through personal sacrifice that motivates them when they come to work.

That same call is now pushing one of our members to make a huge sacrifice to better the life of a woman battling cancer.

“From the beginning my wife and I knew this was something we could do,” said Firefighter Chastain Cannon, “You know either you wanna do it or you don’t wanna do it and for me this something I felt I could do.”

Columbia Richland Firefighter Chastain Cannon (right) with Scarlet Lutz Kasperbauer

Firefighter Cannon and his family are currently getting ready for a major procedure that is expected to impact his life for at least the next six months.

At the end of October Cannon will be heading to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York to undergo surgery which will remove a large portion of his liver. Cannon will be donating that section to Scarlet Lutz Kasperbauer, who has been living with cancer for the past five years.

Kasperbauer is also the sister of two other members of Columbia Richland Fire. Her father also worked for the department.

“It’s a big sacrifice…not everybody would say ‘yeah…I’ll take six months out of my life for your sister,’” said Engineer Jordan Lutz, who works with Cannon on Rescue 2. “It’s a real big deal. We’re very grateful he’s stepping up.”

Firefighter Cannon first met Scarlet Kasperbauer through the Lutz family and over the years has been following her journey through treatment. According to her family, the cancer began in her colon and later spread to her liver. A liver transplant would hopefully eliminate the disease for Scarlet as she is now cancer free in her colon and other areas.

The liver is one organ that can regenerate on its own but the Lutz family says in Scarlett’s case having a donor is essential due to the current condition of her liver.

“This is the only thing they can do,” Lutz said.

Firefighter Cannon said he first heard about Kasperbauer’s need for a donor when she posted information on Facebook. After going through a series of tests he was cleared to have the procedure.

Following his surgery in Rochester, Cannon will likely have to stay in upstate New York recovering for at least a month.

According to the Cannon family insurance should pay for the surgery and medical expenses but they will need assistance with travel expenses to New York as well as lost wages while he is out of work after the operation.

A Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser has been organized to help the Cannon family. It will take place on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. at 124 Oak Street, West Columbia. The venue is located in South Congaree.

A gofundme page has also been created to support the Cannon family. You can visit it by clicking here.