Ben Blanton was named the new deputy chief and fire marshal for the Red Oak Fire Department.

Blanton will take over for Tim Birdwell, who left the department to serve as the fire chief for the city of Ferris. Blanton’s first official workday is Feb. 10.

“We are proud to announce Ben Blanton as our deputy chief and fire marshal,” Red Oak Fire Chief Eric Thompson said. “Chief Blanton has a great determination for advancing professionalism in the fire service and displays strength in character that will bring positive influence to our organization.”

Blanton has previous experience with assisting firefighters obtain continuing education and training that leads a pathway towards professional credentialing and organizational excellence, Thompson said.

“These types of initiatives and programs will enhance the professional image of our department and improve the preparedness of our staff and increase community safety,” he said.

Blanton started his career in the fire service for Red Oak Fire Department as a volunteer. In his 18-year career, he has served with the Atlanta Texas Fire Department and for the Rowlett Fire Department. During his time in Rowlett, Blanton served as a driver and engineer, an arson investigator and a fire inspector. He has also served as an instructor at the Navarro College Fire Academy and as the Fire Science Protection Technology Program Coordinator.

Blanton holds an Associate of Applied Science degree in Fire Officer from Navarro College. He is an Intermediate Police Officer, Law Enforcement Instructor and Firearms Instructor. His certifications include Master Firefighter, Master Fire Inspector, Master Arson Investigator, Master Fire Service Instructor III, Driver/Operator, Incident Safety Officer, Fire Officer IV and EMT-Paramedic.

Thompson said Blanton would lead the charge in the Community Risk Reduction Division and evaluate and expand the current operational plan and policies.