36 year Rural/Metro veteran named new Knox County fire chief

36 year Rural/Metro veteran named new Knox County fire chief

Gene Blaylock (source: Rural/Metro) Gene Blaylock (source: Rural/Metro)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A longtime firefighter who joined the Rural/Metro Fire Department when it began operations in Knox County in 1977 has been named the new Knox County Fire Chief.

Rural/Metro says Gene Blaylock will be responsible for protecting 216,500 residents and operating 15 fire stations in Knox County, 12 of which house paramedic engine companies. He also will oversee strategic planning for the department; disaster planning and response; budget; and oversight of the chief officers.

The fire chief position came open when Jerry Harnish was named Rural/Metro of Tennessee Regional Manager on an interim basis last week, a title that is now permanent.

Blaylock started his career as a firefighter at Station 26 on Strawberry Plains Pike and rose to the rank of assistant fire chief. He served at five stations during his career and has received numerous promotions.

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