Bluffton Runs Mutual Aid to Jasper County

December 22, 2015 (WTOC) - At Approximately 9:45pm, the Bluffton Township Fire District was dispatched to Jasper County to assist with a reported Structure fire. First units arrived on scene and reported a working fire with heavy involvement. The City of Hardeevile and Bluffton units made an aggressive defensive attack. Crews had the fire under control in approximately 30 minutes. BTFD Units on scene – Engine 322, 324, and Battalion 1.



December 22, 2015 - For the past several years, Tanger Outlets has made a donation to the Bluffton Township Fire District. Today they presented Chief Thompson with 2015's donation. Thank you Tanger Outlets for your generosity. As always it is greatly appreciated.


4 More Recruits Graduate from Academy

December7, 2015 Congratulations to Probationary Firefighters, Matt Garnes, Vasont Miller, TJ Hawks, and Steven Jennsen on their graduation today from the South Carolina Fire Academy's 8 week Recruit School. Firefighter TJ Hawks also brought home the Chief Robert Frick award for the Highest GPA in the Class. Congratulations gentlemen, you made the Fire District very proud.



Congratulations to the following personnel on their promotions, which will become effective January 2nd, 2016:

Firefighter I  
Aaron Angel
Tony Crosetto
Parker Dennis
Jeremy Eby
Guillermo Holzmann
Greg Linacre
Tyler Marion
Mike McComas
TJ McCullion
Duke Novak
Brett Phillips
Charlie Schramm
Tim Smith
Cam Terio
Andrei Turner
Jason Williams

Firefighter II  
Travis Boulware
Clay Daley
Alex Elliott
Paul Harrelson
Jake Hartley
Andrew Hatcher
Taylor Kamp
Eric Ligeikis
Brendan Long
Joel Martin
Don Matchette
Carson Stone
Dylan Taylor
Nick Thompson

Senior Firefighter A
Charles Eaton
Phillip Horton
Alex Sanchez
Austin Williams

Senior Firefighter B
Chris Black
Marcos Farr

IT Technician I
Joe Helms

Press Release

September 17, 2015 – Bluffton Township Fire District personnel, from Shift 2 Station 35, were presentenced a Certificate of Appreciation from Chief John Thompson and Mayor Lisa Sulka on behalf of the Bolender Family.  On May 12 2015, the Bolender Family had an emergency while driving in their car. Luckily for them, they were able to pull into Station 35 to seek assistance. The Bolender family was met outside by on duty personnel who ensured them they were able to help. Due to the quick action, showing great confidence, and team work, U.S.M.C Captain Chris Bolender felt compelled to right a letter of appreciation to Chief John Thompson and Mayor Lisa Sulka.

These Firefighters represent exactly the level of service the Bluffton Township Fire District excels to meet each and every day regardless of the type of emergency.

Congratulations and Job Well Done.     


4 Recruits Graduate from Academy

September 26, 2015 –Congratulations to Probationary Firefighters, Whitney Brady, Andrew De La Cruz, Jason Carle, and Brian Brock on their graduation from the 8 week SCFA Recruit School. PFF Andrew De La Cruz and Jason Carle brought home two awards from the Recruit School.

During the last 8 weeks these recruits (Now Probationary Firefighters) spent countless hours studying and practicing for the several National Certifications they received. Recruits from Bluffton, Burton, and Hilton Head Island were among the graduating class from all over the state. During the ceremony, there were three awards given out. Beaufort County swept the awards. Burton Fire District brought home the Robert Frick Award for the Highest GPA, and Bluffton Recruits Andrew De La Cruz and Jason Carle brought home the Pride of the Battalion and the Order of the Maltese. The two awards were voted on by the instructors and the students. One final tradition for Bluffton Recruits is the handing out of Shift/Station Assignments. These assignments are kept secret from all personell until the Probationary Firefighters receive them.

Congratulations to all!!!

Smoke Alarm Saves Family

BLUFFTON, S.C. (WJCL)- One Bluffton family is crediting smoke detectors for saving their home and their lives. Bluffton firefighters responded to the blaze on Monday at a home on Elliot Pinckney Street and found the family safe outside. When firefighters went inside, they found a kitchen stove completely engulfed. 

Elouise Pinckney Green tells WJCL News she didn't realize what was beeping inside her home for a few seconds, and then her family member yelled that the kitchen was on fire.

“The alarm kept beeping and I said why is that alarm beeping like that," said Green. “God is always on our side and I thank God and I thank the fire department for getting here so quickly and doing their job so good."
Bluffton Township firefighters say homeowners can make their jobs much easier though, by simply installing the very same smoke detectors that saved this Bluffton family. 
“People think that the sound of the fire or crackling is going to wake us up and it’s not so much the heat and the flames that are going to kill us, it’s the toxic fumes and the smoke," said Cpt. Randy Hunter, public information officer, Bluffton Township Fire Department. 
National statistics say the risk of dying in a house fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms. This Bluffton home's detector was above a doorway, close enough to the kitchen to pick up the smoke. 
“The main thing is we need to at least have one on every floor and if you sleep with the door closed one in every bedroom.”
The fire department encourages residents to call the department if they have questions regarding the best placement of detectors, or if you are suffering a financial hardship and cannot afford a smoke detector.



Fire, deemed suspicious, damages Bluffton Salvation Army thrift store

September 6, 2015 - Island Packet
An investigation continues into the cause of a "suspicious" fire that destroyed the contents of a Bluffton thrift store early Sunday.

The S.C. Law Enforcement Division and Beaufort County Sheriff's Office are working to determine how a blaze started at the Salvation Army store on U.S. 278 shortly before 5:30 a.m., causing fire and smoke damage to the structure.

Maj. Bryan Tatterson, commanding officer of The Salvation Army of the Lowcountry, said he believed rumors of postings on social media about the fire contributed to officers deeming the fire suspicious, although he said he did not have more information about the investigation.

"At this point, we still don't know if it was struck by lightning," he added.

"It would be better to think that," store manager Amber Hewitt said.

Though much of the store was emptied during sales on Thursday and Friday, Tatterson said it had been completely restocked before it was closed for the weekend. The store was supposed to open next on Tuesday.

"We're assuming that everything is ruined," said Tatterson, who had only been able to look through the back door of the building by midday. "Once it gets that (smoke) smell on it, it doesn't matter how it looks. It's ruined."

Tatterson said it was "heartbreaking" to think that someone may have sparked the fire on purpose, considering the Salvation Army's dedication to helping those in need, including victims of home fires.

Lt. Brian Baird of the Sheriff's Office said he was not aware of social media postings related to the fire.

Additional details would be available after SLED's arson investigators finish forensic analysis of the store, he said.

BTFD Hires 4 Recruits
July 29, 2015 –Please welcome our four new hires (from left to right): Brian Brock, Whitney Brady, Andrew De La Cruz, and Jason Carle. These new Recruits started Orientation on Monday, and will be attending Recruit School at the SCFA starting this coming Monday.



Overturned Vehicle on Old Baileys

June 4, 2015 – At approximately 4:15pm, the Bluffton Township Fire District along with Beaufort County EMS were dispatched to Old Baileys Road for a reported Motor Vehicle Accident. Due to the location being so close to Jasper County, Hardeeville Fire was also dispatched to the call. Engine 322 arrived on scene and reported one vehicle on its side with one person entrapped. Crews from both departments worked together to extricate the driver. I person was extricated and transported to a local hospital.

Units on scene – Engine 322, 325, Battalion 1, Truck 375, Beaufort County EMS, Jasper County EMS, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, and Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.



SC Fallen Firefighters Memorial

Today members of the BTFD attended the South Carolina Firefighters Association's annual SC Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. This service is to remember all of the firefighters in our state that have died in the Line of Duty throughout the years. Unfortunately, this year we added two names to the wall. Firefighter Kellen Andrew Fleming of the Westview-Fairforest Fire Department and Lt John Morgan Burns of the Myrtle Beach Fire Department. RIP Brothers, we'll take it from here.


Accident on May River Rd.
0215-People-FirefighterAt approximately 8:45 p.m. the Bluffton Township Fire District and Beaufort County EMS were dispatched to a motor vehicle accident on May River Road near Buck Island Road. The first engine company on scene reported a two vehicle head-on collision with two people entrapped. It took crews approximately 30 minutes to extricate both drivers. Two patients were transported by air ambulance to a local trauma center and two patients were transported by ground to a local hospital. The accident is being investigated by Bluffton Police Department. May River Road was closed for the duration of the incident.


Garbage Truck Catches Fire

0215-People-FirefighterIsland Packet

A garbage truck caught fire in a Bluffton neighborhood Monday morning, according to a Bluffton Township Fire District spokesman.

Firefighters were called to Pine Ridge Drive around 9 a.m. after the cab of a Waste Management garbage truck caught fire, spokesman Randy Hunter said. Firefighters arrived to find the truck's cab engulfed in flames.

Hunter said firefighters quickly got the fire under control and stayed on scene to help with the cleanup. No one was injured, and the cause of the fire is under investigation, Hunter said.


Bluffton Firefirefighter Featured in Article

February 3, 2015 – Bluffton Firefighter Dave Adams was recently feather in an article for the magazine Hilton Head Monthly. Firefighter Adams is currently assigned to Station 36 Shift 2.

0215-People-FirefighterBluffton firefighter David Adams set state records in high school and tore up the track in college. Nearly a decade later, he’s lacing up for more.

If you look in the state high school record books for the fastest 5K cross-country runner, you’ll see David Adams’ name next to a blistering 14:37.
“I broke a state record that stood for 11 years before I broke it,” he said. When you consider that his record has now stood for 15 years, you realize what an impressive runner Adams was back in the day. In fact, he nearly beat the state record in the 2-mile but missed it by a single second. The record holder for that was the same guy he beat for the 5K record.

“It’s funny looking back at those races, how nervous I was. I still get that way a little, to be honest,” said Adams.
This high school phenom took his talents to Clemson University after graduation, hitting a 25-minute 8K and a sub-five-minute 5-mile run. “That first year I did very well; I was actually the best runner on the team my freshman year.”
All the state records, all the promise of those early years came to a skidding halt his sophomore year with a debilitating injury to his Achilles tendon. Just as Achilles’ heel wound up being his undoing, Adams’ Achilles tendon injury seemingly ended his dreams of running.
“After that I partook in everything else college had to offer,” Adams said with a laugh. “I got back into it my junior year, but trying to live the college dream and being a Division 1 athlete just didn’t mix.”



Former Bluffton Firefighter Travis Howze talks about dealing with PTSD through comedy.
Former Bluffton Firefighter Travis Howze talks about dealing with PTSD through comedy. Travis worked for the BTFD before entering the ranks of the Charleston Fire Department.

width="250"Former Charleston, South Carolina, firefighter and now national headlining comedian Travis Howze lived through the tragic death of nine of his brother firefighters-now referred to as the Charleston 9. Plagued with post-traumatic stress, major depression, and survivor's guilt, Travis hit rock bottom. Learn how Travis found a way up from the bottom through laughter. It is an age-old adage that laughter is the best medicine, and Travis is using it to heal his pain and hopes that it will heal others as well. I recently caught up with Travis to discuss his upcoming 2015 FDIC International standup comedy show, the comedy circuit, and how his backstory will surely be an inspiration for seeking the right help at the right time. Read his story here, in his own words.