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2-Alarm Fire Damages 3 Homes in Richland County

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On Friday May 28, 2021 CRFD crews responded to a 2-Alarm fire that ripped through a home on Durham Creek Court, leaving it heavily damaged.

Firefighters responded to the scene shortly after 11 a.m. Friday. The first units arrived to find heavy fire spreading quickly throughout the home and threatening residences that were adjacent to it. This prompted officers on scene to call for a 2nd Alarm, which sent more resources to the scene.

By the time crews got the fire under control the house where the fire started was a total loss and the homes to each side of it were significantly damaged. Seven people were left displaced but thankfully no one was injured by the fire.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Richland County Fire Marshal’s Office.

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Fire department & RCSD form Marine Teams for holiday patrols on Lake Murray

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The approach of the summer season is expected to draw more and more area boaters out on the waters of Lake Murray for events and recreation. In order to provide added security and safety for citizens, the Columbia-Richland Fire Department (CRFD) is now working with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) to joint staff two RCSD boats during peak days of lake traffic.

These Marine Teams will patrol portions of Lake Murray to provide swift response for any  incidents that may require law enforcement or emergency medical care.

Joint press conference on May 26 announcing formation of CRFD/RCSD Marine Teams 

“We welcome the opportunity to partner with the Columbia-Richland Fire Department,” said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. “This partnership will expand the services that would be available to      citizens on the waterways. Adding medical emergency services to the security, search and rescue and recovery efforts we already provide will increase our ability to address all emergency calls.”

“I’m excited for this partnership with RCSD as both of our agencies support the same mission to keep our citizens safe,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “Every second     matters when a person is facing a medical emergency and if they’re out on the water getting access to them can be especially difficult. Reaching people in need of care will be significantly easier using these boats provided by the sheriff’s department.”

RCSD boats will be staffed by members of both agencies during the Memorial Day Weekend,        Independence Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend as well as during large-scale boating events on Lake Murray such as Drift Jam Flotilla and the Reggaetronic Music Festival.

All firefighters and deputies working the boats have had training in swimming and boat operations.

 

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Prisma Health Doctors Pay Visit to CRFD Training Grounds

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The Columbia-Richland Fire Department was honored to once again host staff members from Prisma Health Midlands to give them an inside look at how firefighters respond to emergencies.

Doctors in residency at the hospital were invited to the CRFD training grounds on May 19 to take part in a session that focused on car accidents and how victims of them are aided by fire department personnel.

 

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May Brings New Round of Promotions at CRFD

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The Columbia-Richland Fire Department kicked off the month of May by recognizing our staff members who recently earned promotions.

CRFD Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins officially badged each firefighter during promotional ceremonies that took place at department headquarters. Each honoree was able to have guests in attendance and all attendees followed COVID-19 preventative guidelines.

The department would like to congratulate the following members of our staff who earned promotions to new ranks:

 

Fire Captain

Terri Hale

 

 

Volunteer Fire Captain

Eric Crane

 

Volunteer Fire Engineer

Orlando Devers

Richard Kneece Jr.

Bradley Siede

Michael Welker Jr.

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CRFD & Columbia Police Investigating Series of House Fires

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The Columbia-Richland Fire Department is working with the Columbia Police Department to investigate the causes of three fires that occurred in the Booker-Washington Heights neighborhood. Thankfully, no one was injured during the incidents.

While investigators acknowledge that the fires all happened in close proximity to each other, they
cannot say with certainty if the fires are connected. The investigations are in the infancy stages and
investigators continue to gather information to determine if the fires were intentionally set or not.

Here is a recap of the incidents:

May 23, 2021 | 7:30 p.m. | 3416 Carver Street | Vacant House

While on proactive patrol, a CPD Metro Region officer noticed thick, black smoke in the area and notified CRFD. The officer found a vacant house damaged. Fire crews immediately responded to extinguish the flames. Unknown estimated cost of damages.

May 26, 2021 | 8:49 a.m. | 2617 High Circle | Vacant House

CPD and CRFD were dispatched to the location after a citizen called 9-1-1 after seeing smoke coming
from the unoccupied home. At this time, it appears that the fires may have various places of origin.
Estimated cost of damages – $50,000.

May 26, 2021| 1:45 p.m. | 3418 Beaumont Avenue | Occupied Duplex

CPD and CRFD were dispatched to the location. At this time, it appears that the fire was contained to
one room on one side of the duplex. Thankfully, no one was home at the time of the fire. The other
half of the building was vacant and boarded. Estimated cost of damages – $50,000.

Police Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook and Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins remind citizens to report suspicious
activity or persons in neighborhoods to 9-1-1. The non-emergency dispatch number is (803) 252-
2911.

Citizens with information regarding the fires are encouraged to contact CRIMESTOPPERS in any of
the following ways: CALL toll-free, 888-CRIME-SC. LOG onto: www.midlandscrimestoppers.com,
and click on the red “Submit a tip” tab.
DOWNLOAD the new P3 Tips App for Apple or Android devices.

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CRFD Firefighters Train at Midlands Tech Campus

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Columbia-Richland firefighters were able to get some training hours in using an old building on Midland Tech’s Beltline campus that is scheduled for demolition.

CRFD crews practicing vertical ventilation on the roof of the old engineering labs building at Midlands Tech’s Beltline campus.

The most recent ‘Acquired Structure’ session took place with CRFD crews during the week of April 12, 2021. Over the course of the week firefighters were able to use the old engineering laboratories on campus to practice their skills in building search, vertical ventilation, forced entry and other areas.

The training opportunity was made possible by Midlands Tech as well as Hood Construction Co.

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RED FLAG ALERT Issued on Outdoor Burning April 21 & 22

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The South Carolina Forestry Commission has issued a RED FLAG ALERT for Wednesday April 21 and Thursday April 22 due to the elevated risk for wildfires.

As a result the Richland County Fire Marshal’s Office has prohibited all “General Debris” burning in unincorporated areas of the County until the Red Flag has been lifted and fire conditions improve. This includes any open burning not associated with agricultural, cooking, or recreational purposes.

You can find more information here.

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Fire Crews Prepare for Summer Season with Annual Swiftwater Rescue Classes

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With summer weather quickly approaching, Columbia-Richland firefighters once again suited up to train and drill in rescue techniques on our area waterways.

The department held annual training and re certification sessions for swiftwater rescue beginning on Wednesday April 14, 2021.

All sessions took place on the stretch of the Saluda River off of Candi Lane near the Riverbanks Zoo.

“This annual training is crucial for our rescue crews each and every spring,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “The warmer weather always ushers in busier conditions on our rivers and lakes and with that comes the possibility of civilians needing rescue. That being said, any time we can get our crews practice working in fast-moving water is of GREAT value to us. We are grateful to have the support of our partners at Dominion Energy in making this training possible.”

Every year Dominion Energy commits certain days in April to flowing more water through the Dreher Shoals Dam. This creates white-water conditions on the Lower Saluda needed to maximize training for CRFD rescue crews.

“Whether providing safe and reliable electric and gas service or responding to emergencies, we’ve had the distinct privilege of working alongside Chief Jenkins and his team of professionals at the Columbia-Richland Fire Department for decades,” said Keller Kissam, Dominion Energy South Carolina President of Electric Operations. “Collaboration through exercises such as swiftwater rescue training is essential for serving our neighbors when they need us most.”

Firefighters want to remind citizens to ALWAYS be aware of water flow conditions on area rivers before venturing out to recreate. Conditions on the Lower Saluda River are always accessible by logging on to www.dominionenergy.com . Planned operations that could change the flow of the river are listed.

While recreating on the water citizens are also highly encouraged to WEAR A LIFE JACKET or personal flotation device.

 

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10 Firefighters Recognized for Recent Promotions with CRFD

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During the month of March the Columbia-Richland Fire Department was honored to recognize 10 members of the department who all earned promotions during the first quarter of 2021.

CRFD Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins officially presented each honoree with their new badge during a series of promotional ceremonies held at department headquarters. Honorees were allowed to invite a limited number of guests to attend. Everyone in attendance adhere to COVID-19 preventative guidelines.

The following promotions went into effect on March 20, 2021. CRFD is proud to recognize the following firefighters on being promoted to new ranks.

Promoted to Engineer

Adam Baker                                                                          Sebastian Shealy

Russell Burgess

Justin Crum

Kiante Curenton

Michael Driggers

Nicholas McDowell

Eduardo Ramirez

 

Promoted to Fire Captain

Cleo Jackson III

Mark Nuovo

 

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Severe Weather on March 18 Could Bring Strong Winds & Tornadoes

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The entire Columbia-metro area and surrounding Richland County is likely to see severe weather during much of the day on Thursday March 18, 2021. According to the National Weather Service these storms are likely to produce widespread damaging winds, strong tornadoes and large hail.

The strongest chance of severe weather could come during the afternoon hours on March 18.

CRFD is reminding citizens to prepare for this dangerous weather and take the following precautions:

  • With strong winds likely BE ALERT for downed trees and debris in the roadways while you’re out driving.
  • If a power line comes down near you, assume the line is active and keep clear from it
  • BE ALERT while driving for the possibility of flooded roadways. If you come across a road blocked by water turn your vehicle around and find another route. Don’t drive through flood waters!
  • Have an emergency kit ready for your home with a flashlight, batteries and other items in case you lose power. For a checklist of items to put in your emergency kit, click here.
  • If you lose power use flashlights for emergency lighting. Avoid the use of candles!
  • In the event a tornado warning is issued for your immediate area go to the most interior room in your home and get away from any windows!

For the latest information on the storm stay tuned to local media and have multiple ways to get informed on the latest watches and warnings from the National Weather Service.