Nashville District Fire Chief Bobby Connelly retired on Thursday. He spent the day with his firefighters. Connelly, 75, is retiring after 53 years as a firefighter. Excerpts below are from Tennessean.com.
He has endured quite a career at that…
On Dec. 11, 1991, Connelly, a captain at the time, and three other firefighters were injured when a burning wall of a warehouse at Fourth Avenue South and Chestnut Street collapsed, leaving them trapped under the flaming debris.
Perhaps his most haunting experience came on the night of Sept. 26, 2003, when a fire broke out at NHC Healthcare Center, a nursing home where his 96-year-old mother lived.
Connelly’s mother had perished by the time he reached her room, and 16 others were killed in the blaze.
Probably the most telling is how the guys sent him off…
Connelly rode home after his final shift with his fellow firefighters on Engine 5. At several intersections along Nolensville Road, fire trucks were parked with their lights on as men and women stood alongside saluting their chief.
“It’s time,” Connelly said, wiping away tears. “I’d rather be here with them, but it’s time. I’ll miss the people, the men and women of the fire department, most.”