EMERGENCY 1972-2022 50 years on TV let's Celebrate


EMERGENCY's Chet Kelly, Tim Donnelly

9/3/44 – 9/17/21

To all the EMERGENCY! fans, we want you to know that he was very excited about coming to the Museum in January for the 50th Anniversary. Many of the Museum Board Members have great memories of Tim from our time on Project 51 and personal contact. To his daughter, grandchildren, and siblings, we offer our sincerest condolences.

The Los Angeles County Fire Museum welcome’s Tim’s fans to leave a note of condolence for his family, friends, cast and crew mates.

LA County Fire Museum logo E51 with wreath


Tim Donnelly's funeral Mass was held on Friday September 24, 2021 in Santa Fe, NM. He was interred on the same day at the Rosario Cemetery, Paseo de Peralta & Gradalupe, Santa Fe, NM.


You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please REGISTER if you are not a site member yet. Otherwise, login. Thank you.


  1. May love and support surround the Donnelly family. Anyone who watched the show was a fan. I remember him fondly.

  2. My deepest condolences To Tims family.
    as a big fan of Emergency Tim (Chet Kelly) Made me laugh and I loved watching him. I still watch all the episodes on DVD. God bless you Tim Donnelly

  3. I offer my condolences to Tim Donnelly’s family, friends, and Emergency! colleagues. Some of my favorite moments in the show were when Chet or Johnny got hurt and they would continue their banter, but show their sincere concern for each other privately. Or when Johnny got the Phantom at the end of the episode. I continue to watch the show and smile every time Tim/Chet comes on screen. Thank you for the legacy you left behind. You inspired countless fire fighters, as well as some of us who followed a different route yet found their path from the show. Rest well Tim and we will miss you in January and beyond.

  4. I never had the chance to meet Mr. Donnelly.
    He seemed to be the kind of person you would feel comfortable being around by reading the great posts and stories. I recall Tim’s character as being the resource for the crew… one episode there was a high angle rescue and Chet stated to the Captain “I ran a crane in the Army”. OK pal… go do it!

    RIP Sir.

  5. I am so sorry for the family and personal friends of Tim. Being that he was a celebrity, I never had the privilege to know him personally. He did however, have an effective on me through the series Emergency! I, like so many others, was a huge fan of the show, and it has a special place in my heart of childhood memories. I was looking forward to meeting Tim in January , but unfortunately it was not meant to be.. God Bless you, Tim… we will all miss you ?❤️

  6. I am most assuredly not alone when I share that Tim’s role with his work on Emergency had a profound impact on countless fans over the years. We became firefighters, EMT’s, and medical professionals, who have lived, or are living our lives, walking in this still deeply inspiring cast’s roles footsteps? How many TV shows can say that they created a whole new occupation? ( of paramedics…). I’ve always wondered, but this will never ever be truly known, about exactly how many of us have served, or are still serving in these capacities that Emergency has inspired its viewers.. Thank you, Tim Donnelly, for the gift of your character Chester B, who so clearly reflected the heart of who you still are, to your family, and fans. I became an EMT in 1986 and still work as one in 2021, honoring both the memory of Emergency and all of its legacy actors.

  7. I would like to make a appropriate emergency related eulogy for Tim Donnelly/Chet Kelly below that I believe everyone should like.

    As Tim/Chet was sleeping in his bed, dreaming of the 50th anniversary celebration coming up, he hears the wake up tones of station 51 go off, and retired dispatcher Sam Lanier who has passed away doing a final call:

    LA calling station 51 firefighter actor Tim Donnelly/Chet Kelly.

    LA calling station 51 firefighter actor Tim Donnelly/Chet Kelly.

    No response heard, it is with deep regrets that LA dispatch announces the final call of firefighter Chet Kelly who was also known as Tim Donnelly. His efforts during his 6 years on Emergency are widely known and he will be missed by all. Rest easy Tim, we’ll take it from here. LA clear KMG941.

    Feeling confused, Tim stands up and sees his body laying on the bed still. He heads to the door and goes through, finding himself in a long hallway with people he knew from the show along the way. The first person that meets him is his first captain at 51, Richard (Dick) Hammer. The next person is Sam Lanier his dispatcher. Next in line standing together is Nurse Dixie McCall and doctor Joe Early.

    Finally, he is met by the ultimate group of heroes known to man, the 343 FDNY firefighters who died in the 9/11 attacks lining both sides of the hall. As he passes by each person/group they welcome him. In the end, he finds both of his engines facing him with all emergency lights activated and his family members who have passed over the years, making him feel at home.

    I’ve been thinking of how to put this for days and feel this is a appropriate final call. Please remove if questionable, otherwise please share with other emergency related groups with proper credit given

    • Thank you so much for the kind and fitting words and final assignment for Chet.
      Thank you also for crediting the former cast and fire department family including the FDNY fallen.

      Wally Berg
      EMR /EMT B
      Mission BC. Canada

  8. I loved this show since watching it as a child. Tim will be sorely missed—- we love him!

  9. Like many, I watched “Emergency!” as a kid. I lived in Orange County (CA) during the show’s first run. One thing that attracted me to the show as a seven year old (circa 1973) was when I was five I got hurt pretty bad at home and a fireman rode with me in the ambulance that June afternoon to the hospital. After that, I was always grateful to the work of firefighters (as well as first responders), and I became a 21-year old EMT in 1987. (We would also play “Emergency!” at recess in elementary school in Orange County.) Although I did not become a career paid firefighter, I was able to serve six years in the Houston (TX) area as a volunteer firefighter/EMT, where 70% of my volunteer time was on an ambulance. I also spent a few years designing fire sprinkler systems, which led me later to a career in the water-wastewater industry.

    Now, back to “Emergency!” Both our engines when I came on in 1989 looked just like Engine 51 with one exception – they were white. When I rode the engine, I often sat in the jump seat where Chet Kelly and Marco Lopez were positioned. We actually had one guy in our department who reminded me a lot of Chet. He even had a mustache and liked to goof off, but when a call came in, just like Chet, he was ready to go and all business. That’s the guy that will have your back on a fire scene. I’m sure many firefighters, whether career or volunteer, will agree.

    When I have watched “Emergency!” on DVD (or on CoziTV), Chet oftentimes came up with ideas to help in the rescue (running them by Captain Stanley of course), and I did my share of disconnecting batteries on 10-50 majors like Chet and Marco did. Later on, he administered first aid from time to time (yes, I do remember the rattlesnake seeing that first run, and crying because I thought Johnny was going to go – my dad calmed me down and explained to me that this was TV – I was only seven) when both the engine and the squad were present.

    I also remember one episode where Chet revived a toddler who had stopped breathing. Actually, I remember another episode where Johnny and Roy have a night run where a baby has difficulty breathing and Johnny took the baby with him in the squad (doing mouth to nose resuscitation) to Rampart – that scenario was exactly what we were taught as EMT’s to do if we had a similar run. But I digress.

    I did meet Tim Donnelly at the “Emergency!” 1998 Convention – like many of the cast, I could tell he wanted to be there. I was the guy who presented a gift basket to Ron Pinkard. Both were very down to earth, and I liked Ron Pinkard’s story about how he was brought on to play a doctor in the pilot movie, thinking it was just going to be a one time appearance – that turned in to six years.

    We will miss Tim, and I appreciated how positive “Emergency!” represented fire and EMS. Television is definitely NOT what it used to be.

  10. Sending love and prayers to Tim’s family for their immeasurable loss. Tim was a perfect Chet Kelly and the banter back and forth with Johnny Gage always made me smile. I will always remember him fondly for his performances, not only on Emergency! but Dragnet and Adam-12 and his non-speaking part on The Virginian as “Tippy.” It has been bittersweet watching him on Emergency! on TV each day now. Rest well Mr. Donnelly. You brought joy to so many people and you can be proud. My thoughts are with his family and colleagues he worked with. Peace.

  11. Tim was so good on Emergency! He was the perfect actor for the part. I read his obit and found out he was an animal lover as well. That made me admire him even more than I already did. My deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and fans.

  12. There is always ONE in any fire department that is the joker, and Tim Donnelly played the part well. In real life or on the show, that person will also be the one you can depend on during a crisis. And Tim did a marvelous job there as well. You know, to break the monotony or relieve stress within the department. His best scene was helping John Gage when he was bit by a snake. Had the scene been reversed, it wouldn’t have worked as well. Seriously! Tim was a versatile actor who deserved much more credit for his talent. May his family and his fans be filled with cherished memories, and it’s okay to laugh when we think of him. My condolences & heartfelt prayers.

  13. I was so looking forward to meeting Tim in January. There was a character!! I know his family will miss him. He was one of a kind, right? ? May he rest in paradise!!

  14. I am saddened at the loss of Tim. My prayers and sympathy go to his family. He was a sweet, funny, and kind man. I was honored to be able to meet him when they were doing project 51. He will be greatly missed.

    • I loved Emergency when the show came out, I still watch as today . The whole station 51 is the best station , because I am
      In the same line of work, I working in A nursing home .
      I have to treat the people good , they like me very much.

  15. I never met Tim, but was definitely looking forward to it in Jan. It would’ve been an honor and a privilege to all of us fans.

    I hope Tim knew how much he was loved by so many and how we continue to enjoy his talents today.

    To the Donnelly family: I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. May God grant you all peace and comfort during this difficult time of grieving someone who meant so much to you.

  16. There are so many memories of Chet from the show, my top one is when Chet was teaching Henry to use the dog house. R.I.P. Chester B Kelly!

  17. My condolences to the Donnelly family. I have lost 2 family members in the last month so I am sympathetic to what they are going through. Tim was my first teenage crush and til this day he still makes me smile whenever I see him on TV or in a movie. I am sure he will never be forgotten by his fans.

  18. It was 1993 when i watched “Emergency!” here in Germany for the first time. Since then i´m hooked on the show and it became my all time favorite show. More than that it inspired me to become a nurse. Still to this day,when i rewatch the show, the spirit that made me becoming a nurse comes back to me. There was and never will be another show that inspired and still inspires so many people to become something special – Firefighters,Paramedics,EMT´s,Nurses or even Doctors.
    You can give credit to the excellent scripts, the flawless direction, R.A. Cinader´s vision or the brilliant actors who portrayed the characters on the show.
    When i talk about the brilliant actors on this show, i have to think about Tim Donnelly. Not only because he brought a simple comic relief character to more than life. He brought a charme,warmth and likeability to Chester B. Kelly. He made him a three dimensional person, that you sometimes loved to hate, because he was after poor Johnny Gage again, but loved most of the time, because he brought so muvh joy and laughter to the sometimes very dramatic episodes. He was a very talented and versatile actor and even more important a wonderful human beiing. I remember when he answered, many years ago, a E-Mail that i wrote to him. It was one of the greatest days of my life. I wish i could have met Mr. Donnelly in person and tell him how much i love his work on the show. How it inspired me to do one of the greatest jobs on the world – a nurse. “Emergency!” still inspires me to this day. With the current Covid 19 pandemic, it´s sometimes very hard to keep your head above water in this business – after working hours and hours in protective gear. But when i come home and watch the show on DVD, it comes back to me why i am doing what i am doing! The spirit of “Emergency!” is still alive and will never die!

    After knowing Chet Kelly for almost 30 years and seeing Tim Donnelly in almost every other performance in movies and television shows, when i heard of his passing it was like losing a very good friend. I can´t believe that he is gone and i sure it´s even harder for his family and the people who knew and loved him. He will always have a special place in my heart and like the inspiring spirit of “Emergency!!”….he will never die in our hearts and minds.
    Rest in Peace Tim Donnelly…..Rest in Peace Chester B. Kelly….thanks for inspiring me every day! Love you!

    My deepest condolence to the family,friends and fans of Tim Donnelly

    Andy Treinen

  19. To the Donnelly family sorry for your lose Tim was a great character on the show liked how Chet always gave Johnny a hard time i never got to met him in person as I live in Australia GOD ONLY TAKES THE BEST WHEN HE PUT HIS ARMS AROUND AND SAID TIM COME HOME TO REST
    much love and hugs Christine from Australia KMG 365

  20. Such a sadness in my heart for the family of Tim Donnelly! He was such a jokester on the show. I am sure he had a great personality off the camera as well. My condolences to the family. I watch the show everyday it is on. Thinking of you all at the sad time. ?

  21. My deepest condolences to the Donnelly family. I became a Paramedic because of Emergency, and I have been doing the job for 30 years. Tim’s character, even though he wasn’t a Paramedic was one of my favourite characters.
    Rest In Peace

    • my deepest condolences to Tim’s Family in this Dificult Time Be Strong god bless you Chet Kelly aka the Phanton We miss you att Maria L.Lopez ?‍????

Submit a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to content