NEWPORT, N.C. (WNCT) — There’s a new fire chief in Newport.

The Town of Newport announced Richard Blaine II as the new chief. He began his duties on Monday, town officials said in a media release.

Blaine has nearly 30 years of experience in the firefighting field and was selected from a pool of over twelve candidates for the position, officials said. He has experience in strategic planning as well as developing and directing community and lifesaving programs. He is a North Carolina certified fire instructor in various disciplines and holds numerous certifications and credentials.

“Chief Blaine is an extremely talented and proven leader with an unswerving dedication to the community. He will be an invaluable addition to our leadership team, and we’re pleased to welcome him aboard,” Newport Town Manager Bryan Chadwick said.

Blaine is a U.S. Navy veteran and a retired federal firefighter, retiring from the Cherry Point Fire Department as Captain of Operations in 2021. He has served as a fire inspector for the Town of Morehead City and was appointed by the Office of the State Fire Marshal to serve on the committee responsible for rewriting the curriculum and testing for Fire Inspector Level I certifications.

Prior to his appointment, Blaine served the Town of Newport as an Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal and was selected as Officer of the Year for 2021.

“We are very proud to have Chief Blaine serve as our next fire chief for the Town of Newport,” Newport Mayor Dennis Barber said. “Chief Blaine is an experienced firefighter and leader whose talents will without doubt lead the department to great success in the years to come.”