Funeral announced for Augusta firefighter who drowned

Officials warn about water safety as latest local drowning victim is mourned and preparations are made for the funeral of another.
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 6:09 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Funeral arrangements have been announced for a beloved Augusta firefighter who died in a tragic drowning accident this month.

The family and friends of Lt. Ralph Jenkins will greet friends on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Hatcher Funeral Home and Cremation Service located at 3464 Jefferson Davis Highway in Graniteville, according to Jenkins’ obituary. A graveside service with Firefighters honors will be held on Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Walker Memorial Park in Augusta.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office reported Lt. Jenkins drowned on May 21 while trying to save a woman in the water at Clarks Hill Lake.

Born in Augusta, Jenkins lived in North Augusta since 2012, according to his obituary. During the 60 years of his life, Jenkins dedicated over 40 years to serving as a firefighter with the Augusta Fire Department.

On his days off from the Fire Department, he worked with Walton Rehab and also had his own lawn care business.

Jenkins also enjoyed fishing, helping people, grilling and cooking, the obituary states. He’s described as being a mentor to many young people, especially young firefighters.

“His attention to detail was second to none,” the obituary reads. “Vehicles were always kept immaculate. Even the rims and tires on his boat trailer were polished and shined.”

Serving as pallbearers at Jenkins’ funeral will be Lt. Daniel Rigdon, Lt. Jonathan Guilfoyle, Capt. Richard Johnson, Sgt. Travis Petrea, FF Joshua Davis and Lt. Eddie Hightower. Members of the Augusta Fire Department will serve as honorary pallbearers.

Memorials may be made to the Burn Foundation of America. (

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