10-Year Anniversary of Deadly Nursing Home Fire - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

10-Year Anniversary of Deadly Nursing Home Fire

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A firefighter battles the fire at the NHC Nursing Home, September 25, 2003. A firefighter battles the fire at the NHC Nursing Home, September 25, 2003.

by Chris Conte

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It has been 10-years since a deadly fire swept through a Nashville nursing home, and killed 16 people.

Wednesday marked the anniversary of the fire at the National Healthcare Corporation at the corners of Patterson Street and 22nd Avenue in Nashville.

As a result of the deadly fire, nursing homes across the state of Tennessee were required to install sprinkler systems.

"It seems like it happened yesterday," said Chief Bobby Connelly, retired District Chief at the Nashville Fire Department.

Connelly spent half his life with the Nashville Fire Department but the blaze inside the NHC facility is one he still cannot shake from his mind.

"My mom was on the second floor of that building," Connelly said.

Bobby's mother, Thelma Connelly, was one of the 16 people who died as a result of the fire. Later it was discovered the facility did not have a sprinkler system and at the time, state law did not require facilities to have sprinkler systems.

"I remember looking for her… she had some thermal burns on her but she was completely black from the smoke," he said. "I identified her by the gold ring she had on."

Ten years later, countless lives have been saved as the result of life-saving sprinkler systems.

"We'll never know how many lives were saved as a result," said Connelly.

Ten years later, lessons continue to be learned from the devastating fire, which tragically targeted helpless victims.

Email: cconte@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5ChrisConte
Twitter: Twitter.com/ChrisConte

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Three Years After Fire, Tenn. Nursing Homes Have Sprinklers

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