The Town of Clayton has hired Chief David Ranes to serve as the next leader of the Clayton Fire Department.
Chief Ranes, who will officially begin his new role on Oct. 16, was selected from more than 70 applicants from across the nation and brings a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to the safety and well-being of our community.
“Chief Ranes excelled in all areas of the selection process. He is a long-time resident of Johnston County, and he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from Cary that will benefit the Town of Clayton as we continue to develop and expand our fire and emergency services,” said Town Manager Rich Cappola. “We look forward to working closely with our new Fire Chief as he leads our exceptional firefighting team into a future filled with courage, resilience, and unwavering service to our town."
With 30 years of experience in the fire service, Chief Ranes has demonstrated exceptional leadership, strategic planning, and a passion for fire safety. His extensive knowledge of emergency response, incident management, and community engagement make him the ideal candidate to lead the Clayton Fire Department into the future.
For the past 25 years, Chief Ranes has served the Cary Fire Department in various ranks from firefighter to assistant fire chief. His dedication to professional development and continuous improvement has earned him the respect of his peers and colleagues. Chief Ranes believes that when you make employees a priority, you empower them to do great things, not only for themselves, but for the organization.
According to Chief Ranes, he is committed to maintaining and enhancing the Clayton Fire Department’s high standards of service. He plans to focus on strengthening community partnerships, improving response times, and ensuring the safety of both residents and firefighters.
“The Town of Clayton Fire Department is one of the premiere fire departments, not just in Johnston County, but in the region. To be selected for this position is an honor and a privilege. As Clayton continues to develop and change, the fire department must also grow and be adaptive,” said Chief Ranes. “I am excited to face new challenges, and as the fire chief, I look forward to guiding the department into the future.”
Ranes will be taking over the helm from former Fire Chief Lee Barbee, who served the fire department for nearly 48 years. Following his service to the department, Barbee transitioned to the role of interim deputy town manager and then eventually deputy town manager. During this extended transition period, Interim Fire Chief Matt Sutphin graciously accepted the responsibility of leading the department.
“I've had the privilege of knowing David since his days as a volunteer firefighter in Wilson's Mills. Over the years, as David ascended the ranks within the Cary Fire Department, he steadfastly maintained close ties with Johnston County, said Barbee. “It's evident that he never forgot his beginnings and exhibited unwavering support for the Clayton Fire Department during times of adversity, including the trying period of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Barbee's sentiment is one of genuine pride in Ranes’s remarkable achievements, and he said he eagerly anticipates a collaborative partnership with the Town’s fire and police departments in their mission to service the community.
Ranes is a 2020 graduate of Fayetteville State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Fire and Emergency Serice Administration. He has earned more than 20 certifications in his field including Fire Officer III from the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal (NCOSFM) in 2014, Advanced Firefighter Certificate from the North Carolina State Firefighter's Association in 2017, Quality Improvement Through Accreditation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence in 2019, and the Chief Officer Executive Development Program in 2021. He also is a 1990 graduate of Smithfield-Selma High School.