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Close to 40 people displaced after fire rips through Harbison apartment building

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A 2-alarm fire left an apartment building off of Harbison Boulevard badly damaged on the night of April 6, 2019. Thankfully there were no injuries to firefighters or civilians.

CFD crews responded to Harbison Gardens along Columbiana Drive shortly after 8:30 p.m. After arriving on scene responders would call for a second alarm.

About 18 people were inside the building at the time of the fire. All were able to escape safely.

In all close to 50 firefighters were involved in fighting the fire. The Irmo Fire District also provided support. An investigation by the CFD Fire Marshal’s Office later determined that the fire was caused by unattended cooking.

At last report the Red Cross was assisting 11 adults and 19 children who were left displaced by the incident. Estimates are about 38 people lived in the building.


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2019 Firetruck Pull nets roughly $35,000 for Curing Kids Cancer

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Customers at the Soda City Market on April 6 got to see quite the sight as dozens of people showed up to take turns pulling CFD firetrucks.


This year the CFD Firetruck Pull to benefit Curing Kids Cancer was held in the heart of downtown Columbia at 1200 Lady Street. Area fire departments, companies and church groups all entered teams to see who could pull a fire engine 50 feet in the least amount of time.

Teams that registered collected donations in advance of the event. Every dollar raised will go to help Curing Kids Cancer fund cutting edge research for childhood cancers.

The Firetruck Pull was hosted this year by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and emceed by Mary King of WIS News 10. Two teams for Columbia Richland Fire took part in the competition.

When the event was over the Lexington County Fire Service claimed the best time for a 10-member team and Gamecock Equestrian had the best time for a 12-member team.

The Edisto Volunteer Fire Department also won the award for Best Fundraising Team as it collected roughly $4,000 in donations to benefit Curing Kids Cancer.

In total the event raised at least $35,000. 

Columbia Richland Fire would like to thank everyone who helped make the Firetruck pull a success this year!

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More than 30 CFD firefighters recognized at April promotions ceremony

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On the evening of Wednesday April 3, 2019 Columbia Richland Fire once again took time to extend congratulations to all of our members who were recently promoted.

April promotional ceremony at CFD headquarters

More than 20 senior firefighters, 8 engineers, 4 captains and one new battalion chief were all honored during a ceremony held at department headquarters. As friends and family members of the honorees looked on Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins officially badged each one.

Here is the complete list of honorees:

Senior Firefighter

Effective December 15, 2018

Guy Williams

Effective February 23, 2019

Bradley Brown

Effective March 9, 2019

Donovan Boatwright            Jeffrey Brazier            Russell Burgess                  Daniel Carter

Patrick English                     Anthony Gangeri         Raymond Gary                  Charles Gilkerson

Spencer Heath                      Tome Higgins               Patrick Humphries          Thomas Kunak

Joshua McGee                      Mark O’Donnell           Sean Painter                       Jerrell Richburg

Richard Shell                        Jervyn Simon                Christopher Sword           Caleb Weaver

Corey Williamson



Effective March 9, 2019

Michael Baird                      Nicholas Branham            Joshua Donnelly                 Luke Donovan

Kenneth Foster                   Corey Grooms                    Clarence Henderson           Kenneth Warr


Fire Captain

Effective February 23, 2019

Prentiss McLaurin             Jason Schumacher

Effective March 9, 2019

Ameer Bagley                    Christopher Ford


Battalion Chief

Effective February 23, 2019

Kareem Spain

Battalion Chief Kareem Spain with Fire Chief    Aubrey D. Jenkins


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CFD getting ready for annual Fire Truck Pull to Benefit Curing Kids Cancer

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Contributed by Abigail Pait, ‘Curing Kids Cancer’

Curing Kids Cancer and the Columbia Fire Department are teaming up with Mayor Steve Benjamin for the sixth annual Fire Truck Pull. The Pull will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 6 at 1200 Lady St., rain or shine.

Teams of 10 to 12 people will race to pull a 35,000-pound fire truck for 50 feet. Each team will pull in honor or memory of a child affected by cancer, and will dress up to show the child’s interests or hobbies. These groups not only compete during the pull but they also compete to receive the most donations. The team that raises the most money will receive a one second advantage.

Curing Kids Cancer is thankful that the Fire Truck Pull will have many teams returning like Aflac, Rainbow International, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the University of South Carolina’s Equestrian team and Prisma Health Midlands Foundation. Curing Kids Cancer is excited to welcome new teams like Edisto Volunteer Fire Department, Electric Guard Dog, Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Benedict College.

“Last year we had 41 teams pull in honor or memory of a child,” said Grainne Owen, founder of Curing Kids Cancer. “We are so excited because we have really stepped things up with Mayor Benjamin hosting for us! We are hoping to break last year’s record by having at least 50 teams and by raising even more money.

The reigning champions of the 10-person squad, Team Super Zoe, made up of members of Midtown Church, will be back in action again this year. They will be challenged by second place finishers and 2017 champions Lexington County Fire for Jacob. It will most definitely be a showdown this year with competitors signing up. Prizes will be awarded to the top fundraising team, best dressed team and the fastest 10-person and fastest 12-person teams. The top fundraising team also receives a one second advantage during the pull.

The Fire Truck Pull has donated more than $100,000 to the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Clinic at Prisma Health Children’s Hospital – Midlands. Participation in this event will help to complete Curing Kids Cancer’s $1.2 million endowment for the Gamecocks Curing Kids Cancer Clinic, which will bring cutting edge treatments to children battling cancers in South Carolina.

“This event is truly for the kids and their families – not just for them to have some rare and precious fun but to give them hope and help save lives! That is priceless,” said Owen.

There is still time to form a team and sign up. Click here  for more information about participating in the sixth annual Curing Kids Cancer Fire Truck Pull.

To support CFD’s teams follow these links:

To support Team Killian, click here.

To support Team William, click here.

About Curing Kids Cancer:

Grainne and Clay Owen founded Curing Kids Cancer, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit devoted to funding cutting edge pediatric cancer therapies, after they lost their son, Killian, to leukemia in 2003. He was only nine years old. Since it was founded in 2005, Curing Kids Cancer has raised more than $14 million to fund new childhood cancer treatments and pediatric cancer research. For more information on how to help, please contact Curing Kids Cancer at 1-866-933-CURE (2873) or visit to learn more.

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CFD 2019 ‘Fill the Boot’ Campaign Could Pass $3 Million Mark in Funds for MDA

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Soon Columbia Richland firefighters will once again be out at city and county intersections asking drivers to help ‘Fill the Boot’ in support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Greater South Carolina District.

The 2019 CFD ‘Fill The Boot’ Campaign will be kicking off Tuesday evening March 19, 2019 when the Columbia City Council convenes for its next meeting.

The drive will then be in full swing from Wednesday, March 20 through Friday, March 22. During all three days CFD crews will be out near the following intersections collecting donations from approximately 7:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

      Assembly & Gervais                                                                        Two Notch & Decker

     Huger & Blossom                                                                             Sparkleberry & Two Notch

      Devine & Harden                                                                            Hwy 21 & Blythewood

     Bull & Elmwood                                                                               Pineview & Garners Ferry

     Main & Sunset                                                                                  Kennerly & Broad River

     Bush River & Broad River                                                            Forest Drive & Beltline

     South Beltline & Rosewood                                                         Trenholm & Forest Drive

Leesburg & Garners Ferry                                                                Rabon Rd & Farrow Rd

                                                                                                                    North Springs & Clemson Rd

“I am nothing short of incredibly proud of the work our firefighters put into this campaign each and every year,” said Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “In 2018 our crews netted $145,000 to help MDA Greater South Carolina. That puts us just shy of the $3 million mark in overall contributions raised. I know with the incredible generosity of our citizens that we will surpass that mark this year.”

 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.

 MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy through worldwide research. The association also provides comprehensive health care and support services. Funds raised by the CFD ‘Fill the Boot’ Campaign will go to support MDA patient care services and summer camp opportunities for children at no cost to their families.

 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.

 For more information about the MDA go to: or follow them on Twitter: or Facebook.


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Knowing the Dangers of Gas & CO Leaks

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In light of recent events, Columbia Richland Fire wants to make sure all area residents know the risks created by having natural gas or carbon monoxide leaks in a home or business.

Gas Leaks

Natural gas can pose a huge danger if it’s leaking. In its natural state gas has no color and no odor. However an odor is added to the gas to help you detect a potential leak.

IF YOU SMELL GAS (typically a rotten egg odor)

1. Leave the area immediately!
2. Warn others to stay away!
3. From a safe place outside, call 9-1-1 AND your gas company.


-smoke, use a lighter or strike a match
-use any electric switch, telephone or cell phone or flashlight as they can cause sparks and ignite gas
-start or stop nearby vehicles, machinery or things that may spark
-try to turn natural gas valves on or off

If your home or business uses natural gas, your gas provider can be a great source of further information.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide is called ‘the invisible killer’ for a reason.

It’s an invisible, odorless and colorless gas that can poison you over a period of time.

That’s why having a working CO detector in your home is CRITICAL!

Tips to Remember About CO & CO Detectors

  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
  • Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Call your local fire department’s non-emergency number to find out what number to call if the CO alarm sounds.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
  • Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — only use outside.

For further information on CO and symptoms of CO poisoning, click here.

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20 New Columbia Richland Firefighters Graduate into Service

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Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins officially confirmed 20 new firefighters for the department as members of the 2018-02 CFD Recruit Class graduated on February 7, 2019.


Each recruit was badged by Chief Jenkins at a ceremony held at Boyce Chapel at First Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina.

“These recruits have demonstrated that they are ready to serve our communities,” Chief Jenkins said, “They have shown a firm commitment to their firefighter training over these past 18 weeks. I expect that dedication to serve each of them well as they begin their careers as CFD probationary firefighters and protectors of the public.”

All members of class 18-02 will begin their CFD firefighter careers this weekend as they report to their shifts.

The department also presented several awards during the ceremony including the Maltese Cross Award and the Bryan P. Roberts Award.

Here is the full list of graduates from CFD Recruit Class 2018-02:

Jerry Amerson

Tyler Bacon

Jake Borrelli

Kevin Bracey

Jared Chew

Matthew Fazzio

Precyous Felder

Daniel Hathaway

Jacob Howell

Michelle Martinez

Daniel Monteferante

David Palevich

Nicholas Palevich

Chun Pan

Joseph Pou

Quentin Shaver

Brendon Spears

Khari Stone-Marshall

Antonio Williams

Davon Wilson

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Columbia Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins marks 40 years of public service

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February 2019 is now officially ‘Aubrey D. Jenkins Month’ in the city of Columbia.

This comes after the Columbia Richland fire chief was honored by City Manager Teresa Wilson and members of the city council on the evening of February 5, 2019.

That day marked exactly 40 years since Chief Jenkins joined the CFD. He began his firefighting career in 1979 on the tailboard of an Engine for a Battalion Chief. Over the years he would rise through the department’s ranks and eventually become Columbia’s first African American fire chief.

In addition to the council’s proclamation, Chief Jenkins was also awarded a Key to the City by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and presented with a signed fire boot from all of the members of the council.


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CFD firefighter recruit receives outpouring of support following collision

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People across the Columbia Richland fire family and beyond have been sending prayers and support to a CFD recruit firefighter who was seriously injured on Saturday, January 19, 2019.

CFD Recruit Firefighter Brandon Zinn

Recruit Brandon Zinn is continuing to recover at an area hospital. According to the Columbia Police Department the 25-year-old was struck by a suspected impaired motorist while on his motorcycle at Bluff Road and I-77. The police department believes that alcohol may have played a role in what happened.

Brandon’s left leg was reportedly severed in the crash. A CPD officer who was the first to arrive on scene quickly applied a tourniquet to help stop the bleeding. Richland County EMS then rushed Brandon to the hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries for his injuries. According to his family those injuries include multiple broken bones and internal trauma.

At the time of the crash he was less than three weeks away from completing CFD recruit school. He was on his way to the CFD Training Complex Saturday morning to assist staff as they evaluated potential new hires.

Brandon is part of a 22-member recruit class that’s slated to graduate on February 7, 2019. He is also married and has a 6-month old son.

Brandon with his wife Emily and 6-month old son Charlie

To assist Brandon and his family with the expenses they will face on his long road to recovery, CFD is now working with the South Carolina State Firefighters Association Foundation.  

Anyone who would like to make a tax-deductible donation in support of the Zinn family can do so by clicking here and following these instructions:

  1. Fill out all of your contact information on the page.
  2. Select ‘Assist Firefighters & Their Families’ under the part that asks where you want to designate your donation.
  3. Fill in the amount you would like to donate.
  4. Put in your payment information.
  5. VERY IMPORTANT!! Under the part that says ‘Add a Note,’ write ‘For Brandon Zinn.’

Checks can also be made out to the SC State Firefighters Association Foundation in support of the Zinn family. Be sure to write ‘For Brandon Zinn’ in the memo line of the check.

Members of the CFD will continue to provide support and assistance to Brandon, his friends and family and the members of his recruit class in the wake of this terrible incident.


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Colder temps could bring greater risk for home heating fires

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The possibility of chillier weather over the coming weeks and months will no doubt leave more people turning to their home heating systems to keep warm.

Unfortunately, that move can lead to a higher chance of a major fire if those systems are not properly maintained.

“This is a grim reality of the winter season,” said Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “Having proper heat is a necessity for comfort. It shouldn’t have to result in putting your home and loved ones at risk. We strongly encourage all area residents to make sure their home heating heating equipment is ready for the months ahead. We also want them to practice caution while using space heaters and fireplaces as a primary source of heat.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) heating equipment was involved in more than 54,000 reported U.S. home fires from 2011 to 2015. Each year heating systems are a leading cause of home fire deaths.

Here’s a few tips to heat your home safely this winter:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and 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.