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CFD firefighters net more than $130,000 to help in the fight against Muscular Dystrophy

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Columbia Richland firefighters marked the success of the department’s 2019 ‘Fill the Boot’ campaign as they presented a ceremonial check to the Muscular Dystrophy Association on June 12, 2019.

From March 20 through March 22, CFD fire crews collected donations from the public at 17 total intersections in the City of Columbia and Richland County. By the end of the campaign a grand total of $130,005.68 was raised.

All of the funds will go to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association in providing patient care services for MD in the Columbia area as well as Charleston and Greenville. Each year the campaign also helps local children living with MD attend summer camps.

“This is where all the hard work truly pays off,” said Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “Our firefighters put a lot of time and effort into collecting and they do it all knowing that every dollar raised will make a huge difference for the MDA. I am proud of the great partnership we have with the organization and our joint effort to help those living with neuromuscular diseases.”

“I would also like to give a resounding thanks to our leaders in the City of Columbia and Richland County for their yearly support of the campaign by allowing us to collect on the streets,” Chief Jenkins added.

Muscular Dystrophy is a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass in patients. Complications from MD can lead to trouble walking, curvature of the spine and problems with the heart, breathing and swallowing. Across the U.S. hundreds of thousands of people are impacted by MD diseases.

In attendance to accept the check for the Muscular Dystrophy Association was Suzanne Bland, who is executive director for MDA Greater Carolinas.

“For more than six decades, firefighters have fueled MDA’s mission to find treatments and cures for muscle-debilitating diseases, and the 2019 Columbia Fire Department ‘Fill the Boot’ results are a perfect example of their dedication,” Bland said, “We are extremely grateful to have the support of these truly selfless heroes, as well as the entire Midlands community. It is with their generosity that we will be able to empower MDA families with life-enhancing resources and support, including the MDA Summer Camp and the MDA Care Centers, that open new possibilities and maximize independence so our MDA families can experience the world without any limits.”

MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy through worldwide research. The association also provides comprehensive health care and support services.

MDA’s relationship with the Columbia Fire Department goes back more than 50 years. CFD’s ‘Fill the Boot’ campaign grew in the late 1990’s when our firefighters were allowed to collect in the intersections and on duty. At that time, the department was inspired by Taylor McEntire, the grandson of one of our retired battalion chiefs. Taylor was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. To this day his spirit continues to be a driving force behind ‘Fill the Boot’ that has helped families throughout the Midlands.

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2-Alarm fire rips through Northeast apartment building

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Nearly a dozen Columbia Richland fire crews responded to northeast Richland County on May 31, 2019 after an apartment building fire reached 2-alarm status.

Nobody was injured when the fire ripped through six units of a building at Killian Lakes Apartments and Townhomes. Roughly 50 members of the department were called out to the complex after the fire broke out around 5 p.m.

A total of 12 apartments inside the building were affected.

The Richland County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating what caused the fire.

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Prisma Health physicians get up close look at firefighting during training visit

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For the second straight year Columbia Richland Fire hosted area physicians for a morning of education and outreach at the CFD training complex.

The focus of this year’s exercise on May 22, 2019 was learning about the physical and stress-related injuries that a major fire can cause. About 30 resident physicians in emergency medicine at Prisma Health-Midlands took part.

Resident physicians with Prisma Health trying on firefighting gear

Following a morning lecture hospital staffers got to try on actual pieces of firefighting gear and equipment to get a feel for their sizes and weights. Afterward they observed CFD crews conduct a simulation exercise that entailed fighting a house fire and rescuing a victim inside.

The purpose of the day was to give the physicians an up close look at the physical demands of firefighting, brief them on how fire crews rehabilitate while fighting a fire and explain the types of injuries that victims of a fire can suffer.

The hope is that will give them added knowledge while treating fire victims as well as firefighters who have been injured in the line of duty.

“It’s important for our physicians to know the stresses they’re going through,” said Spencer Robinson, who is a DO with Prisma Health and also serves as the medical director for the CFD.

Resident physicians tour the CFD burn building before the fire simulation

“I think it makes us better physicians when we can empathize with our patients,” he added.

Several of the physicians will be concluding their residencies with Prisma Health-Midlands over the coming months and moving on to new jobs at hospitals across the country.

Last year many of the same physicians came to the training grounds to learn about vehicle extrications and how firefighters help victims of car wrecks.

Staff with Richland County EMS also were on hand and took part in the exercise.


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CFD rescues one from 2-Alarm fire at hotel

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An early afternoon 2-alarm fire on May 21, 2019 had Columbia Richland Fire crews racing to a hotel near Two Notch Road and I-20.

The 3-floor La Qunita Inn had heavy fire on the rear side of the building by the time firefighters got on scene. Early arriving crews quickly got water on the flames. One person was rescued from a third floor room of the building. She was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries.

At the time of the fire 37 rooms of the hotel were occupied by guests. Everyone else got out safely.

The incident unfolded shortly before 1 p.m. At least six rooms of the hotel were damaged by fire with other areas of the building suffering water and smoke damage.

The Richland County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating how the fire started.

In all about 50 CFD members were invovled in the operation. Fort Jackson Fire Department also provided support.

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Blood donors needed for 2019 Boots & Badges Drive

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Contributed by Maya Franklin, American Red Cross

The Columbia Police Department, Columbia Fire Department and Richland County Sheriff’s Department are challenging each other — and the community — to give blood at the eighth annual “Boots and Badges” blood drive on May 24, 2019.

Boots and Badges is a friendly competition that pits the police officers, firefighters and sheriff’s deputies against each other to find out which department can donate more pints. Friends, family and community supporters are also urged to give blood and vote for their favorite team. ­

Donors can give blood and vote for their favorite team at two locations in Columbia:

Decker Center, 2500 Decker Boulevard and Charles Drew Wellness Center, 2101 Walker Solomon Way.

All presenting donors at the Boots and Badges blood drive will receive a free Red T-shirt and a $10 Visa gift card courtesy of Suburban Propane, while supplies last.

How to donate blood

Simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate

blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at or use the Blood Donor App.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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2 Alarm Arson Fire Damages Homes on Greene Street

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A fire that authorities believe was intentionally set left two homes on Greene Street in Columbia badly damaged on May 14, 2019.

CFD crews responded to the homes on the 1700 block of Greene Street just before 6:30 a.m. Heavy fire was found to be coming through the roof of one of the homes and its close proximity to the house next door caused the flames to spread quickly.

Not long after arriving on scene responders called for a second alarm, which dispatched additional firefighters. In total close to 50 CFD members were on scene and contained the fire by 7:30 a.m. 

About 12 people were inside the two homes at the time of the fire but everyone escaped safely. Surveillance video later led police to a 21-year-old nearby resident. Investigators have since charged him with setting the fire.

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CFD christens New Engine 9 with Community Push In

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The latest firetruck to join the CFD fleet was officially ushered into service on Thursday May 9, 2019.

City, county and community leaders on hand to help push in the new Engine 9 on May 9th

Leaders with the City of Columbia, Richland County and area neighborhoods joined department staff pushing the NEW Engine 9 into its fire station home on Devine Street. Lights on the new engine were illuminated as the truck entered the bay.

CFD’s Third Shift crew on the engine then received the official diagram and certificate for the firetruck. Both were presented by Columbia City Councilman Moe Baddourah and Jennifer Suber of the Devine Street Association.


Richland County Councilwoman Allison Terracio also took part in the event.

Columbia City Councilman Moe Baddourah and Richland County Councilwoman Allison Terracio

The engine upgrade is part of the department’s continued commitment to equip our crews with new and modernized firefighting equipment. It will also help preserve CFD’s ISO Class 1 rating in the city. That in turn will mean continued positive news for area property owners when it comes to their insurance rates.

The roughly $600,000, KME model firetruck is likely to see a lot of work in the months ahead.

Last year Engine 9 handled more than 1,800 class for service. Combined with Ladder 9 (which also is at Station 9 on Devine Street) the two trucks ran more than 3,600 calls for service. Engine 9’s service territory includes Five Points, the USC campus, parts of Forest Acres and the Shandon neighborhood.



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Volunteer firefighters celebrated at May graduation

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In what was a first for Columbia Richland Fire, the department recognized the work of its many volunteer members by holding a graduation ceremony on May 6, 2019.

More than 20 volunteer recruits were officially sworn into service with the department while their friends and family looked on. The ceremony drew close to 200 people to department headquarters.

Fire Chief Jason Pope, who is the fire services coordinator for Fairfield County, delivered the keynote address. Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins then officially badged each volunteer recruit. He also presented each new member with a department coin.

Here is the complete list of volunteer firefighters who were honored:

























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‘Sound the Alarm’ Campaign Equips Hundreds of Homes with Free Smoke Alarms

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Over the course of two Saturdays in late April and early May Columbia Richland firefighters helped equip hundreds of area homes with free smoke alarms.

Volunteer crews visiting homes in Hopkins to install free smoke alarms on April 27, 2019.

The department once again partnered up with the Red Cross to conduct door-to-door community smoke alarm blitzes. The first blitz was held on Saturday April 27, 2019 and canvassed neighborhoods in parts of Eastover, Hopkins and Gadsden. A second blitz followed on May 4, 2019 in the Lincolnshire, Hollywood Hills and Denny Terrace subdivisions.

All property owners had to do to get free alarms installed was to be home when volunteer crews came by. Crew members also provided residents with valuable safety information during their drop ins.

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CFD Firefighters & private citizen honored for saving Richland County man

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Four firefighters with the Columbia Fire Department and one citizen were recognized for the life-saving help they provided an area track and field coach nearly one year ago.

“It’s truly a blessing,” 34-year-old Lawrence Terry said after attending the event to support the responders and neighbor who rescued him.

Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins shaking hands         with Patrick Roche Jr.

On the evening of May 2, 2018 Terry had just finished cutting the grass at his Richland County home when he suddenly collapsed and lost consciousness. His wife and son were both home at the time.

“She went inside…my son came out and saw me on the ground,” Terry recalled.

Luckily at that moment his neighbor Patrick Roche Jr. was nearby. Roche immediately began performing CPR compressions on Terry while firefighters were on their way to the scene.

“I thought he had just passed out from cutting the grass,” Roche said, “it’s only when I ran over and rolled him over that I saw how bad the situation was.”

Within minutes CFD’s Engine 14 crew arrived. Firefighters continued CPR and also began to use an automatic external defibrillator on Terry. He was then taken from the scene by EMS to an area hospital where he remained in a coma for days.

Lawrence Terry (second from right) standing with his father

Terry also faced four months of cardiac rehab. He has since made a full recovery from the incident.

On the afternoon of Friday May 3, 2019, Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins presented Roche with a certificate of recognition as well as an honorary membership coin from the department.

The CFD firefighters who aided Terry were Fire Captain Thomas Niles, Engineer Brian Sumpter, Senior Firefighter Russell Burgess and Senior Firefighter Alexander T. Reese. All four men were also recognized during the event.









“I applaud Mr. Roche and our firefighters for their acts of heroism,” said Fire Chief Jenkins, “Mr. Roche’s actions clearly show the importance of knowing what to do during a medical emergency. I hope that our citizens can learn from this case and take steps to acquire skills in CPR. There’s no doubt that those skills made a real difference here.”

Terry, who first stopped by Station 14 back in March to thank the firefighters who helped him, was also in attendance for the event along with members of his family.

Lawrence Terry with CFD Fire Captain Thomas Niles (above) and his neighbor Patrick Roche Jr (below)


Certificates of Recognition are awarded by the department to citizens who exhibit courage and commit selfless acts to provide aid to others.

For more information on CPR training and how to find courses in your area contact the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS or go to