Retired Smithfield Fire Chief Honored

Retired Smithfield Fire Chief John Blanton (center) receives a plaque from Mayor Andy Moore (left). Looking on (right) is Blanton’s wife, Marla Blanton.

Town of Smithfield leaders formally honored retired Fire Chief John Blanton this month.  Blanton retired June 1, 2021 after serving the Town as a full-time firefighter for 30 years and 9 months.

Blanton rose through the ranks of the department, serving as fire engineer, lieutenant, and captain. Since February 2016, Blanton served as fire chief, a position he held until his retirement.

Town Councilman Steve Rabil said Chief Blanton used financial resources wisely and saved taxpayers money whenever possible.

“Chief Blanton has been a great asset to the fire department and the citizens of Smithfield,” Councilman Rabil said. “His knowledge of fire trucks and equipment has saved the department several thousand dollars over the last few years. A perfect example would be the addition of the brush truck, a town surplus vehicle, that was brought back to use at minimal cost. Under his leadership and cost-saving measures, the department has replaced a ladder truck and two new engines in a short period of time.”

Mayor Andy Moore presented Blanton with a proclamation honoring him for his professionalism, dedication and service to the citizens of Smithfield.  He also thanked Blanton for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Reflecting back on a late night ride-along, Mayor Moore said he was with Chief Blanton several years ago surveying hurricane damage in the Town.  As Chief Blanton drove by the courthouse he saw a man standing outside.  Chief Blanton stopped to check on the individual, who had just been released from the Johnston County Jail and had no place to go, or shelter from the inclimate weather. Moore said the fire chief made sure the man was taken care of and out of the elements.