Columbia Fire Dept. brings holiday cheer to sick kids

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- Santa Claus made a special visit to the Capital City Friday, and he didn TMt ride in on a sleigh pulled by a team of reindeer.

With the help of the Columbia Fire Department, Santa pulled up in a fire truck.

Just thinking that they are going to spend Christmas at the hospital is sad, but they are in good hands, says Capt. Chris Branham of Ladder 9.

Branham TMs daughter was in the children's hospital eight months ago.

The pneumonia consumed both her lungs and she was on the ventilator for three weeks, Branham recalls.

Branham says he will always be in debt to the staff at Palmetto Health Children TMs Hospital for saving his daughter, so when he got a call from the hospital that Santa was needed stat; Branham enlisted the help of his crew.

There are kids home now, that are out of school playing and having a good time and these kids are here, says Steven Buff, who played Santa Claus for the day.

Buff visited the 60 patients spending the holidays at Palmetto Health.

For families, the reaction of their children when getting a visit from Santa and bag full of toys is valued.

The effort not only delivered joy to patients, but also brought them hope which is now a new tradition for the men of Ladder 9.