Blanton Named Interim Smithfield Fire Chief

Smithfield Town Manager Paul Sabiston has named an interim fire chief.

Fire Captain John Blanton will serve as Interim Fire Chief for the Smithfield Fire Department starting on Wednesday, July 1st, following the retirement of Fire Chief Patrick Harris.

“Captain Blanton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, having served approximately 25 years with our Fire Department,” Sabiston said. “The Town’s search for Chief Harris’ permanent replacement is ongoing and will continue.”

Born on farm in the Town of Stedman in Cumberland County, Blanton moved to Smithfield in 1987 and initially worked as a car salesman. In August 1990, he was hired, by former Fire Chief Norman Johnson, as a fire engineer. Blanton said Chief Johnson and Chief Harris were great mentors.  He was later promoted to Lieutenant and in 2001 Captain.

Asked if he planned on making any major changes, Blanton told WTSB News on Friday, “I hope to maintain and improve what we’ve got now. That’s my goal. To improve the department and personnel.”

The Smithfield Fire Department responds to nearly 2,000 incidents annually, with two-thirds of the calls being medical-first responder calls. The department has 14 full-time personnel, 2 part-time fire inspectors, and 28 volunteers.

Blanton is married to his wife, Marla. They have two children, Amanda, age 24, and Dillon, age 22.