Veteran Nashville firefighter celebrates 50 years - WKRN News 2

Veteran Nashville firefighter celebrates 50 years

District Chief Bobby Connelly District Chief Bobby Connelly
Chief Connelly was seriously injured in a warehouse fire in 1991. Chief Connelly was seriously injured in a warehouse fire in 1991.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.-  He's served Nashville as a firefighter for a half a century, been injured in the line of duty, and even responded to a fire that took the life of his own mother.

On Friday, District Chief Bobby Connelly's fellow firefighters celebrated his 50 years of service. 

Connelly began his career as a Nashville firefighter on December 1, 1959.

Now, he's celebrating the years, but he says has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Connelly said, "I'll have the 50 years, and anything on top of that is going to be the icing on the cake I guess."

He tells News 2 it's more than a job to him. "It's been an awesome. I won't say occupation, a way of life, really, to be a firefighter. This is a serious job, but it's still a good job."

He learned first-hand of just how serious the job can be in 1991, when he was seriously injured while fighting a fire. 

News 2 had to interview Connelly from his hospital bed.

During that interview, Connelly said, "I say the good Lord done whatever, just saved our lives," but that was not the toughest fire he's ever responded to.

"My mom passing away in a fire is probably the toughest thing I've ever endured," he added.

His mom died when the NHC nursing home in Nashville caught on fire on September 25, 2003. She was one of 16 people  who lost their lives in the six-alarm fire.

"I try and take her attitude and try and think about the worst thing that could happen to you, and something good is going to happen, and it did," Connelly said. "All those people that lost their lives over there ended up getting bills past that put sprinklers in nursing homes".

Through all the hardships, Connelly maintains his love for his job.

He said, "It went real fast, too fast, I wish I was a rookie. That's how good it's been."

His 50th anniversary as a firfefifgter

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