MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - One of the first African American firefighters to join and later retire from the Montgomery Fire Department has died. Retired Lt. Stallworth Smith died Sunday, according to Montgomery Fire/Rescue.
“Our prayers and sympathy go out to his wife Betty Smith, and his entire family, as we ask that God comfort them in their time of need,” MFR said in a statement.
MFR said Smith began his career on Jan. 1, 1966 and was among the first African American firefighters to join since the department became a paid career department in 1898. He was quickly promoted to fire engineer in 1973 and then to fire lieutenant in 1984.
He spent the last days of his 20 years of service to the city at Station 12 on Truck 43. On Jan. 9, 1986, he became the first African American to retire from the Montgomery Fire Department.
Throughout his career, MFR says Smith was recognized as a hard-working and courageous firefighter. He was part of city history in 1967 as one of the firefighters who battled the massive Dale’s Penthouse fire.
“On behalf of all members of Montgomery Fire/Rescue, we truly appreciate the life and memory of Lieutenant Stallworth Smith,” the department said.