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MEDFORD (WATE) – Firefighters remember the former chief of the Medford Volunteer Fire Department after he died in a car wreck Wednesday night.
Ronnie Braden, 62, was driving a 2001 Ford pick-up truck when it veered off the road and hit a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene according to a report by Oak Ridge police. His wife, Connie Braden, was transported to the hospital with injuries.
Braden's son, Robert Braden, said his mother Connie underwent surgery Thursday for a fractured neck and arm.
Ronnie Braden worked for the Medford Volunteer Fire Department in Anderson County for more than 30 years.
"He was very dedicated to the fire department. He spent a lot of time here, even helping build this building," remembers Joe Lamb, a fellow volunteer firefighter.
Braden's son Robert is in the Air Force and lives in North Dakota. His other son, Anthony Braden, is a firefighter in Clinton.
Lamb said Braden was passionate about his family and his job. He was shocked by his friend's sudden death.
"It makes you wonder, no matter who you lose, it makes you wonder, did you spend enough time with him?," Lamb said.
Lamb said Braden and he traveled across the country looking for fire trucks. The two spent countless hours together both working and building things.
"We were hooked on wood working. He worked in a cabinet shop and he liked to build things at home," Lamb recalled.
Oak Ridge police said the single vehicle accident happened just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday off the Oak Ridge Turnpike near Elza Drive. The investigation is still ongoing.