After serving as interim fire chief for several months, John Blanton officially took over Thursday as the permanent fire chief of the Smithfield Fire Department.
Blanton had been serving as the interim since the retirement of former Chief Patrick Harris on July 1, 2015.
Chief Blanton’s career has included approximately 30 years of progressively responsible work in fire service. In 1984, Chief Blanton began his service as a Volunteer Firefighter with the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department in Cumberland County at the youthful age of 16 years old. Since 1990, Chief Blanton has served the Town of Smithfield’s Fire Department, advancing from Fire Engineer to the Fire Chief.
Chief Blanton will report directly to Interim Town Manager Jim Freeman. “The Town conducted a thorough search for our new Fire Chief,” comments Mr. Freeman. “I am pleased with the selection of John. He has shown great initiative and leadership during his tenure as the Interim Fire Chief.”
“I am truly blessed,” Blanton said. “I am both honored and humbled to be able to serve the great citizens of the Town of Smithfield. We have a wonderful staff that is always ready to serve. Our doors are always open for visitors and comments.”
Chief Blanton lives in Smithfield with Marla, his wife of nearly 25 years. He has two children; daughter Amanda Blanton Hicks, 24, and son Dillon Blanton, 23.
His annual salary will be $70,000. His salary is higher than the Selma Fire Chief who is paid $57,401, and the Benson Fire Chief at $52,122, but less than Clayton Fire Chief Lee Barbee who is paid $105,731.