Fire Chief

Colleen Foster, Executive Assistant to the Fire Chief

provides administrative and secretarial support to the Fire Chief, performing such duties as scheduling and coordinating meetings and appointments, researching and compiling data for reports and studies, composing and/or preparing routine and confidential reports and correspondence, making travel and accommodations arrangements for staff, etc.  She assists supervisors in planning and implementing various City and department programs, activities, and services as assigned.  She composes, prepares, types, copies, files, processes, mails and/or transmits various documents, which may include forms, correspondence, memos, presentation materials, reports, agreements, contracts, leases, press releases, etc.


Aubrey D. Jenkins began his duties as the Fire Chief of the Columbia Fire Department on July 20, 2011, serving as the first African American appointed to this position. Additionally he has served as the first African American to be elected as the President of the South Carolina State Association of Fire Chiefs.   The Columbia Fire Department serves Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, as well as a 660 square-mile area of Richland County. Prior to serving as Fire Chief, Chief Jenkins worked his way up through the ranks as a Firefighter from 1979 to 1982, a Relief Fire Equipment Operator from 1982 to 1984, Fire Equipment Operator from 1984 to 1988, Captain from 1988 to 1993, Battalion Chief from 1993 to 2005, and Deputy Chief from 2005 to 2011. He currently leads around 600 employees, which includes volunteer firefighters, located in 32 stations. Of these 32 stations, 14 are considered “volunteer stations” as they are staffed predominantly by volunteer firefighters.

He is a graduate of Eau Claire High School, the South Carolina Executive Institute and he received his undergraduate degree from Columbia Southern University in Fire Science.  He is the co-chairman of the City of Columbia Grievance Committee, certified as an Emergency Medical Responder Instructor, a South Carolina Fire Academy Instructor, and an American Red Cross First Aide Instructor.

As the Fire Chief, he has received a variety of honors and awards. He was an inductee of the Columbia Housing Authority Wall of Fame.  He was made the Honorary Chair for the 2015 Walk Like MADD.  He received the Volunteer of the Year Award, Citizen of the Year Award, and Recognition Award for Participation in after school programs to teach first aid and safety to youth and mentoring programs.  His additional honors include being named Columbia Firefighter of the Year, City of Columbia Employee of the month, being presented with a Life Saver Award from the City of Columbia for rescuing a baby from a burning structure.  He was a 2007 recipient of the Columbia Urban League Lincoln C. Jenkins Jr. Award, and received a Certificate of Recognition for Extraordinary Personal Action, and numerous other achievements.  His most significant accomplishment includes achieving a class 1 ISO rating, the highest rating for local fire protection efforts based on ISO’s fire suppression rating schedule.  He is the first and only Fire Chief in the Columbia Fire Department to achieve this milestone.

Chief Jenkins is a member of Progressive Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ where he serves as a deacon and past Chairman of the Brotherhood Department.  He is married to Vernell Trapp Jenkins and they have two adult sons, Emanuel and Sheldon.

Contact Person

Fire Chief, Aubrey D. Jenkins

1800 Laurel Street Columbia, S.C. 29201

Phone (803) 545-3708