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The Curing Kids Cancer Fire Truck Pull Turns Five

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For Immediate Release:

Abigail Pait


 Gather a team to pull a fire truck in honor of a child battling cancer.

Columbia, S.C. – March 1, 2018 – Curing Kids Cancer and the Columbia Fire Department are joining forces for the fifth annual Fire Truck Pull to fund childhood cancer research and treatments. The Pull will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 14 at 1800 Laurel St. in Columbia, 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.

“Last year we had 27 teams pull in honor or memory of a child,” said Grainne Owen, founder of Curing Kids Cancer. “With this being the fifth year, we are hoping to break last year’s record by having at least 30 teams and by raising more money for cutting-edge pediatric cancer research.”

The Curing Kids Cancer Fire Truck Pull has donated nearly $100,000 to the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders Clinic at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital. 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.

“The Curing Kids Cancer Fire Truck Pull is a highlight in Columbia’s spring calendar,” said Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins of the Columbia Fire Department. “This gives everyone in the Midlands a chance to make a difference to the lives of South Carolina’s children.”

There is still plenty of time to form a team and sign up. Visit for more information about participating in the fifth annual Curing Kids Cancer Fire Truck Pull. There will be face painting, food trucks and other attractions during the event.

Curing Kids Cancer will also partake in Midland Gives Day on Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

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 $11 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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Firefighters Paramedics & Doctors Collaborate To Better Understand Vehicle Extrications

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On Wednesday February 15th a joint training exercise occurred; a first of its kind involving firefighters from the Columbia Fire Department, EMTs & Paramedics from Richland County EMS, and residents from Palmetto Health.  The training focused on vehicle extrications and providing patient care during the extrication. 

Over 40 physicians from Palmetto Health’s residency program along with several ER Physicians attended this training which included a lecture from experts in the field of vehicle extrication and then they observed several vehicle extrication scenarios to better understand what occurs during extrication.  In turn Richland County’s EMS and the physicians provided valuable recommendations on best practices with patient care during an incident.

 Towards the end of the training several residents volunteered to be patients inside the vehicles during the extrication this provided firsthand knowledge of what an actual patient may experience during a vehicle entrapment and also how firefighters conduct patient care.

Discussions during and after the completion of the training were completely positive and recommendations from all the attendees including the residents encouraged this training exercise to continue for future residents.

Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins said, “Collaborations like this can only improve how we as first responders provide the best possible patient care during what could be one of the most traumatic incidents an individual can experience.”


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Lifesaving Grant Awarded to Columbia Fire

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Grant will provide smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to senior citizens in Hopkins

The Columbia Fire Department is proud to announce the award of a grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation for $7,885.00. This grant was used to purchase 300 smoke and 200 carbon monoxide alarms that will be distributed primarily to senior citizens in the Hopkins community.

Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins said, “This grant gives us the resources to better protect the members of our community by actively trying to prevent the loss of lives and property through the use of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms”.

“Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation aims to recognize and respond to needs in the community,” said Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation Senior Manager of Marketing & Communications Jackie Gubbins. “Through the Foundation, we’re able to provide departments, and in turn the community, with equipment such as the awarded smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that they might not be able to obtain if it weren’t for our organization. It’s an honor to know we’re helping save lives.”

We encourage all citizens to have properly installed and working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed in their homes. Please visit our website at for more information on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as well as an on-line request form for fire department installation services.

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was founded in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when Firehouse Subs co-founders, Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, traveled to Mississippi where they provided food to first responders and survivors. As they traveled back to Florida, they knew they could do more and Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation was born with the mission of providing funding, life-saving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations. Since its inception, the non-profit organization has granted more than $29.5 million to hometown heroes in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, including more than $285,000 in New York.

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Line of Duty Death Anniversary – Firefighter Willie Warren

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This morning, all stations were toned out and all members of the Columbia Fire Department paused to remember the anniversary of the Line of Duty Death our brother and fellow Firefighter, Firefighter Willie Warren.
On February 6, 1927, Firefighter Willie Warren was killed when a fire apparatus backed into him while he was behind another apparatus dispatched to fight a fire at the “duck” mill in the 300 block of Gervais Street.
We can only speculate on what future contributions he may have made to our Department, so we can stay strong in spirit, celebrate his life and honor his service.
But today we can acknowledge and remember that Firefighter Warren gave his all and for that we will be forever in his debt and we will never forget our fellow Firefighter, our friend, our brother,
Firefighter Willie Warren.
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Thirty-nine years ago today, Aubrey D. Jenkins was hired as Firefighter for the Columbia Fire Department starting out on the tailboard on an Engine to a Battalion Chief.  In 2005 he was appointed to Deputy Chief and in 2011 he was hired as the first African-American Fire Chief.  In 2017 Chief Jenkins was elected as the first African-American Third Vice President of the South Carolina State Association of Fire Chiefs during the 2017 South Carolina Fire & Rescue Conference.


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The CFD Celebrating 115 Years of Service!

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The Department was established on this day, February 1, 1903 with its first Fire Chief, W. J. May and W. H. Sloan its Assistant Chief elected on January 22, 1903.

The Department was comprised of 40 men selected from the four disbanded volunteer companies, divided among the four paid companies. The Palmetto Engine Company #2 located on the 1213 block of Blanding Street, the Phoenix Hook and Ladder Company located at 1601 Assembly Street, the Independent Steam Fire Engine Company #1 located in the 1129 block of Washington Street and the Columbia Steam Engine Company #3 located at 814 Main Street.

115 years later the Department has 32 fire stations with 598 Firefighters, 486 career and 112 volunteer; and using 100 fire apparatus to provide fire service in the City of Columbia Government and Richland County.

To find more history on the Columbia Fire Department visit our website’s history page

All of the men and women of #TheCFD continue to honorably serve the citizens, visitors, properties and the environment in our response areas each and every day.


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CONGRATULATIONS to Captain Thomas Niles, Jr. for being selected as the 2018 Men On The Move Calendar Project’s Man of the Year.

This calendar highlights the background of men who are active in the community; successful in their field; making a difference with social concerns; and Game Changers! They give of themselves, their time, and their talents.

The Columbia Fire Department congratulates Captain Niles for not only for this recognition, but also for serving honorably with City of Columbia Fire Department.

To purchase your copy today visit

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New Year’s Eve Fireworks Safety

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Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins wants you to have a safe New Year by leaving the fireworks to the professionals such as during the Famously Hot New Year celebration. 

Chief Jenkins strongly discourages the use of consumer fireworks due to the high risk of property damage, injuries and possible death associated with fireworks.

If you do decide to use consumer fireworks Chief Jenkins encourages you to follow these safety tips:

  • Always read and follow labeled directions.
  • Have an adult present at all times.
  • Never allow children to play, hold or light fireworks.
  • Only buy from licensed/permitted dealers.
  • Always have water close (a garden hose or a water bucket).
  • Keep fireworks that are not being used, covered to protect them from accidental fallout from the fireworks display.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at people.
  • Never re-light a “dud” firework.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.

For more information on Famously Hot New Year visit:

Chief Jenkins and the Columbia Fire Department wish you a Happy & Fire Safe New Year!


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Keep Your Holidays From Going Up in Flames!

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Columbia Fire Department Offers Fire Prevention Tips for a Safe and Festive Holiday Season.

For most of us, the holiday season represents a time for family festivities and good cheer. What few of us consider is that the holiday season is a time when there is an increased risk of home fires. Many households engage in holiday activities that serve as some of the leading causes of U.S. home fires, including cooking. Christmas trees, candle usage and holiday decorations also significantly contribute to the seasonal causes of home fires. Add to that the hectic nature of the holidays, when people are trying to accomplish multiple tasks at one time, and the chance for home fires grows even more.

“As everyone gets busier during the holidays, we often become rushed, distracted or tired,” says Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins. “That’s when home fires are more likely to occur.”

Fortunately, with a little added awareness and some minor adjustments to holiday cooking and decorating, the season can remain festive and safe for everybody. “By taking some preventive steps and following simple rules of thumb, most home fires can be prevented,” says Chief Jenkins.

With unattended cooking as the leading cause of U.S. home fires and home fire injuries, the Columbia Fire Department urges you to stay in the kitchen while you’re frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food, just to name a few. Most cooking fires involve the stovetop, so keep anything that can catch fire away from it, and turn off the stove when you leave the kitchen, even if it’s for a short period of time. If you’re simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking and never cook when you’re sleepy or while taking medicine that makes you drowsy. The Columbia Fire Department also suggests creating a “kid-free zone” of at least three feet around the stove and areas where hot food and drinks are prepared or carried.

Candles are widely used in homes throughout the holidays, and December is the peak month for home candle fires. The non-profit National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) statistics show that two of every five home decoration fires are started by candlesChief Jenkins encourages residents to consider using flameless candles, which look and smell like real candles. However, if you do use traditional candles, keep them at least 12” away from anything that can burn, and remember to blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed. Use candle holders that are sturdy, won’t tip over and are placed on uncluttered surfaces. Avoid using candles in the bedroom where more than one-third of U.S. candle fires begin or other areas where people may fall asleep. Lastly, never leave a child or pet alone in a room with a burning candle.

According to NFPA, U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 200 home structure fires between 2011-2015, involving Christmas trees. Forty percent of those fires were due to electrical malfunctions and 26% were a result of a heat source that was too close to the tree. The Columbia Fire Department offers the following advice for picking, placing and lighting the tree:

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it’s labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire-retardant.
  • If you choose a fresh tree, make sure the green needles don’t fall off when touched; before placing it in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk. Add and maintain at least 2” of water to the tree above the stem daily.
  • Make sure the supporting device is strong enough to support the tree to prevent tipping.
  • Refrain from overloading an outlet with excessive decorations using multi-plugs and cube adapters. 
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit, and is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, candles and heat vents or lights.
  • Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory, and make sure you know whether they are designed for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving the home or going to bed.
  • After Christmas, get rid of the tree. Dried-out trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside the home.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.


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Home Heating Safety

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Home Heating Fires are the Leading Cause of Home Fires and Fatalities.

As we are expected to continue with cooler temperatures over the weekend, Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins encourages the citizens of the City of Columbia and Richland County to use caution while heating your homes as some heating sources that comfort us also is a leading cause of home fires and fire fatalities.

Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, was the leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for more than half (56%) of home heating fire deaths nationally.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. These homes included one- and two-family homes (including manufactured homes) and apartments (including townhouses and other multi-family dwellings).  

  • 2009-2013, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 56,000 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 470 civilian deaths, 1,490 civilian injuries, and $1.0 billion in direct property damage. These fires accounted for 16% of all reported home fires. 
  • Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for two of every five (40%) of home heating fires and four out of five (84%) of home heating fire deaths.
  • The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (30%) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.

Although Chief Jenkins does not recommend the use of space heaters he understands that citizens will use them as a secondary or even primary heat source but encourages you not to leave them unattended, don’t go to sleep with them on and to keep combustibles at least three feet away.

By following these basic fire safety precautions and making small modifications, you can greatly reduce the risk of home heating fires.

  • All heaters need space. Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
  • Use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instruction. Have a qualified professional install the equipment.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.  CO poisoning can cause illness and even death.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
  • Turn space heaters off when you leave a room or go to sleep.          
  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations, and flammable materials.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
  • Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.