CFD Activates MMRS Resources for US Department of Defense’s Federal Coordination Center Mission

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The Columbia Fire Department received a request on Sunday from the US Department of Defense’s Federal Coordination Center (FCC) to activate Metropolitan Medical Response Systems (MMRS) equipment and supplies managed by the CFD to help support the potential emergency evacuation of an unknown number of medical patients from Caribbean hospitals. CFD firefighters from St Andrews Station 6 and Olympia Station 2 were dispatched Sunday morning to provide manpower for the mission.

The effort, which will include the reception, triage and tracking of patients that will be temporary housed at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport for this purpose so that patients can be systematically disbursed to local hospitals.

The mission is being conducted under the auspices of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS), which assists in the coordination of governmental, non-profit and medical emergency resources into a unified response to natural disasters and acts of domestic terrorism. NDMS is activated when an incident is so large that it overwhelms local agencies’ ability to respond with sufficient medical aid.

Response personnel from local, state and military agencies as well as 11 regional hospitals and healthcare facilities are preparing today to receive patients evacuated from islands decimated by Hurricane Maria. Military aircraft will be bringing an unknown number of patients to the Columbia airport for transport to South Carolina hospitals.

The CFD will continue to support this mission by remaining on standby to provide any additional resources requested to include a Metro Emergency Response Vehicle (MERV) maintained by the Columbia Fire Department.


Columbia Fire Department Hiring Firefighters

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The Columbia Fire Department launches hiring campaign for the next CFD Recruit Class, 18-01

Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins announced today that the Columbia Fire Department is accepting applications for Firefighter.  The application process will close midnight on Tuesday, October 31, 2017.

The Department is the largest in the state and is responsible for serving nearly 500,000 citizens within the City of Columbia and Richland County.  Firefighters respond to 35,000-40,000 emergency incidents per year from rural to densely urban areas.  Fully staffed, the Columbia Fire Department has 500 personnel covering 32 fire stations.

The application period is currently open, as per the posting on the City of Columbia website All applicants are strongly encouraged to provide an email address as requested on the Columbia Firefighter Application.  Applicants will be notified via email for pre-qualification testing dates.  This will be a progressive process based on minimum passing scores for each of the testing phases. 

Phases of the pre-qualification testing process include:

  1. Application, to include a 10 year driving record and criminal background check from the state of residency.
  2. General aptitude written test.
  3. Maze and Physical agility test.
  4. Final Application Review.
  5. Selected Candidate’s Interview.

*Follow link (  to purchase study guide for written aptitude test and to view Maze & Agility test video tutorials.

Any questions that you may have can be e-mailed to Captain James Bostic, CFD Recruiter at or call the Columbia Fire Department at (803) 545-3331.

Missing Boater-Durham Alexander DeLaura

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Statement from Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins and information on Durham Alexander DeLaura while serving at the Columbia Fire Department.

Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins stated, “The CFD Family continues to offer our thoughts and prayers to Durham’s family and friends. He was a very talented Firefighter who developed many skills during his nearly ten years serving with Department and I along with the entire Columbia Fire Department continue to focus on the recovery efforts.”  Chief Jenkins continued to state, “I would like to thank the many agencies that have taken part in the rescue and recovery efforts, especially the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Lexington County and Newberry County Sheriff’s Department and the Lexington County Fire Service.” 

Durham Alexander DeLaura was hired by the Columbia Fire Department on December 2, 2006 and resigned in good standing with the Department on June 11, 2016 at the rank of Engineer.  Engineer DeLaura served honorably with the Columbia Fire Department and worked at serval stations during his career to include Sandhill Station 24, North Main Station 7, and Dentsville Station 14; but served most of his nearly ten year career at Headquarters Station 1 on Rescue 1.

Engineer Durham Alexander DeLaura while serving with the Columbia Fire Department received several awards for his lifesaving actions during Flood Joaquin.

  • Engineer DeLaura was awarded with the Medal of Valor after he three other CFD Firefighters shallow water crossed, swam through flooded waters and searched 50 yards in the woods in the dark to locate a victim in a flooded creek.
  • Engineer DeLaura was awarded with the Medal of Bravery after he and another CFD Firefighter with assistance from several other CFD Firefighters conducted multiple Swiftwater rescues from atop and inside vehicles and from the flooded tree lines at Decker Boulevard and O’Neil Court.
  • Engineer DeLaura was awarded with a Unit Citation after he and other CFD Firefighters rescued seven victims from flood waters in the area of Garners Ferry Road and Greenlawn Drive.
  • Engineer DeLaura was also awarded along with multiple members of the Columbia Fire Department; the Outside Agency Award for receiving an award from the Palmetto Health Hospitals for keeping the three hospital’s water supply operational which allowed them to remain open and to function during their operations.
  • Engineer DeLaura received a second Outside Agency Award for receiving the internationally recognized Higgins & Langley Memorial Award for Swift Water Rescue which was awarded to the Columbia Fire Department specifically for its actions during Flood Joaquin.
  • Engineer DeLaura along with each member of the Columbia Fire Department during Flood Joaquin received a Flood Joaquin Campaign Ribbon from the Columbia Fire Department.



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What is Tunnel to Towers?

Tunnel to Towers is a series of 5K runs and walks that take place in cities around the country to celebrate and appreciate first responders who serve, save and sacrifice on our behalf every day. Columbia is home to South Carolina’s Tunnel to Towers race.

When is South Carolina’s race?

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers South Carolina 5K Run & Walk is set for Friday, September 15 at 7:00 p.m. in Columbia’s Vista. The picturesque course spans the Gervais Street and Blossom Street bridges at sunset.

Who was Stephen Siller?

The race is named in honor of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter and father of five who died on September 11. That day, Siller was off-duty and on his way to play golf. When he heard what was happening at the World Trade Center, he strapped on 60 pounds of gear and ran from the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the World Trade Center. He gave his life to save others. The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is committed to ensuring that Americans never forget 9/11 and that our children understand the sacrifices made by many on that day.

What does the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation do?

The goal of Tunnel to Towers is to support first responders and military service members who have been catastrophically injured in the line of duty. Proceeds from the 5K will benefit the building of smart homes for quadruple and triple amputee veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s “Building for America’s Bravest” program.

What is the route for Columbia’s event?

The route for the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers South Carolina 5K Run & Walk begins near the First Responders Historic Remembrance Memorial next to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on Lincoln Street. Participants will travel down Blossom Street, across the Blossom Street Bridge, into Cayce, up the Gervais Street Bridge and back to Columbia’s Vista in the early evening.

How many years has Columbia’s race taken place?

This is the fifth annual Tunnel to Towers 5K in Columbia. The first one was in 2013.

How many people attend?

South Carolina first responders, law enforcement officers, military service members from all branches of the Armed Forces, avid runners, families and teams from businesses and organizations. More than 2,000 people participated.

What other activities surround the race?

There will be an opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. and an after party with an awards ceremony, music, food, beverages, vendor booths and family friendly activities after the race.

How do I sign up?

Register for South Carolina’s Tunnel to Towers 5K Walk and Run at The entry fee is $30, with discounts for students and First Responders. Importantly, businesses and organizations are encouraged to build a team of participants.

Where can I follow on Social Media?

Follow news and information about September’s Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers South Carolina 5K Run & Walk on social media:

Facebook: Tunnel to Towers South Carolina

Twitter: @T2TSC

Instagram: T2TSC

Fire Department Donates Apparatus to Area Schools

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Columbia Fire Department, City of Columbia and Richland County donate decommissioned fire engines to high school firefighter programs.

Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins in partnership with the City of Columbia and Richland County is proud to announce the donation of three fire engines to our local school districts as part of a career technical center program. Richland School District One (Lower Richland High School), Richland School District Two (Westwood High School), District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties (The Center for Advanced Technical Studies, CATS) each received a donated fire engine that has previously served in the Columbia Fire Department’s fleet before being retired from emergency service.

Chief Jenkins stated, “The Department is excited to be able to donate these apparatus which will be used to hone the student’s firefighting skills and learning experience by using real world fire equipment.”

These three Firefighter programs along with 35 similar programs throughout the state of South Carolina work to provide the skills and certifications necessary for students to pursue a career in the fire service upon graduation and turning 18 years of age.

The South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association, the South Carolina Fire Academy and the South Carolina Department of Education collaborated to develop these Firefighter programs for the state’s Career and Technology Centers and High Schools as resources for recruiting and training future firefighters for career and volunteer departments in South Carolina.



Twenty-five Firefighters complete 18 week recruit school

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Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins announced the graduation of 25 members of the Columbia Fire Department’s Recruit Class 17-01 during a graduation ceremony held last night, Thursday, July 27, 2017 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, South Carolina.

Chief Jenkins said, “I am very proud of these recruits, now Probationary Firefighters for their accomplishments and dedication they have shown over the last 18 weeks and will expect the same as they begin their career with the Columbia Fire Department.”  These 25 Probationary Firefighters  will begin their firefighter careers this weekend as they report to their shifts.

The Columbia Fire Department also presented to awards during the ceremony; the Maltese Cross Award and the Bryan P. Roberts Award; both awards were presented to Probationary Firefighter Javier Colon.


Maltese Cross Award

The Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection. It means that the firefighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his or her life…. just as the Crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so many years ago.  The Maltese Cross is a firefighter’s badge of honor, signifying that he or she works in courage, pride and honor. The Columbia Fire Department established this award to be presented to the top recruit as voted on by the class and instructors.


Brian P. Roberts Award

In 2007, Bryan was hired to be part of the CFD Recruit Class 07-01.  Unfortunately, Bryan passed away while at home, prior to the completion of recruit school.  His fellow classmates dedicated the remaining portion of the recruit program to his honor.  In Bryan’s honor and memory, the Columbia Fire Department set-up the Bryan P. Roberts Award in 2007.  This award is to be presented to the recruit that has maintained the highest grade point average in each recruit school.



CFD Experiences Large Call Volume During FLooding

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Columbia Fire Department responded to over 130 calls for service during the evening of Sunday, July 23rd between 4pm – 10pm.  Some of the more significant calls for service were; 11 water rescues, 8 flooded vehicles w/ victims, 21 motor vehicle collisions ( 2 with entrapment) 10 flooded areas. 

The injuries associated with those calls were not life-threatening and a majority of the patients from water rescues had no injuries.  Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins stated, “We were very lucky to not have any significant injuries associated with yesterday’s flooding, but I credit our well trained firefighters and the quick responses to each of the calls.” 

Columbia Fire encourages citizens to avoid flooded roadways and to never drive or walk through flooded areas; remember Turn Around Don’t Drown!

Columbia Fire Department Division Chief honored by Department of Defense for patriotic support

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Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins is proud to announce that Division Chief Travis Carricato of the Columbia Fire Department was presented with a Patriot Award yesterday, July 16th by a representative from the South Carolina Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Committee, in recognition of extraordinary support of their employees serving in the South Carolina National Guard.  Carricato were nominated for being highly supportive by their employees and SC Army Guard member Specialist Eduardo Ramirez.

The Patriot Award was created by ESGR to publicly recognize individuals who provide outstanding patriotic support and cooperation to their employees who have answered their nation’s call to serve.

Both Chief Roach and Chief Strohecker were honored to receive this award and to be nominated by a member of the Columbia Fire Department who not only serve their local communities as a firefighter but who serve their Country as Military Service Member.

ESGR, a Department of Defense program, seeks to foster a culture in which all employers support and value the employment and military service of members of the National Guard and Reserve in the United States. For more information about ESGR outreach programs or volunteer opportunities, call (800) 336-4590 or visit


Columbia and Richland Leaders Join Forces to Promote a Swim Safety Program

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Columbia Fire, Sheriff’s Department, Recreation Commission, and Coroner

Host Swim Safety Event

Saturday July 15th 9:00am – 12:00pm

St. Andrews Park Eastover Park

 Because Columbia and Richland County officials believe that even one drowning death is one drowning death too many, the Columbia Fire Department, Richland County Sheriff and Coroner, as well as the Richland County Recreation Commission are joining forces to present the “Swim Safe” safety day.

Lifeguards and other qualified instructors will be available to help teach water safety and safe swimming practices. This instruction is free and being offered at St. Andrews Park (920 Beatty Rd. Columbia, SC 29210) & Eastover Park (1031 Main St. Eastover, SC 29044) on Saturday July 15th from 9:00am – 12:00pm.

Chief Jenkins says, “After responding to five drowning incidents in the previous weeks, we felt it necessary to reach out to the community and offer assistance by helping people get the instruction necessary to be safe in and around the water”.

Come by one of the above mentioned “Swim Safe” events this Saturday to learn how to keep yourself, your family, and your friends safe on the water this summer.

Columbia (SC) Firefighters Pull Victim from House Fire

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Fatal House Fire

Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins stated that crews from the Columbia Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire shortly before midnight last night (7/5/17) at 1300 block of Lyon Street.  As units approached, heavy smoke was visible from the front of the residence.  As crews forced entry into the home a patient was located and taken outside to Richland County EMS for care.  The patient was transported to an area hospital, but later died. 

Richland County Coroner’s Office is investigating the cause of death and will release those findings along with the victim’s name later.

The cause of fire is currently under investigation by the Columbia Fire Investigators with assistance from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Damage to the residence is significant.