Fayetteville names Bailey Kelly as first female fire captain

Capt. Amy “Bailey” Kelly is the first woman at the Fayetteville Fire Department to earn the rank of captain.

Courtesy photo

Amy “Bailey” Kelly was recently promoted to captain after serving eight years with the Fayetteville Fire Department. She is the first woman to earn the rank of captain in the history of the department.

Kelly, 39, grew up in St. Louis and majored in speech and language pathology at Missouri State University. She then worked as a waitress, a bicycle mechanic, and a social worker.

It wasn’t until she met a female firefighter at a rugby tournament that she started to seriously consider pursuing a career in the fire service, and later became a certified emergency medical technician.

Kelly worked as an EMT for Central EMS for the next six years. During that time, she applied and tested for three years before being offered a job with the Fayetteville Fire Department in February 2004, just two-and-a-half months away from being past the age requirement for such employment.

“That was one of the happiest days of my life thus far,” said Kelly. “I cannot imagine what my life would have been like if I had not gotten that call.”

Capt. Kelly said she’s fortunate to have worked with who she calls “some of the best guys in the fire service.”

“I came in with very little knowledge of the job,” she said. “These men spent every day training me and giving me the tools that I needed to be successful. I am thankful that I get to go to work and do something that I truly love and enjoy.”