He accompanied his father, volunteer firefighter T.J. ‘Sonny’ Bell, on a storage building fire.
Bell was hooked.
One of the city’s most longstanding firefighters, he will hang up his bunker gear and retire Thursday, March 27.
‘I had wanted to be a fireman ever since I was little,’ Bell said.
He had decades of tradition to follow before becoming a paid firefighter.
‘Since 1927 until now, there has always been a Bell on the fire department,’ he said.
His grandfather, O.V. Bell, started the department in 1927. The group of volunteers relied on an early pumper, a 1923 Seagraves, that was kept at Birdwell Garage on Houston Street.