Knoxville — Fire Chief Nick Bonstell has tendered his three-week notice of resignation to the City of Knoxville.
Bonstell said that this has been a "gut-wrenching, agonizing decision," that he and his family have been praying about and considering for weeks. Ultimately, Bonstell discovered that it has been too difficult for his immediate family to be so far from "home."
The chief puts all of the blame on himself. This was entirely his decision, he said, and he does not want the community to respond negatively to this against the Knoxville City Council, nor City Manager Harold Stewart.
"It's been a long decision," Bonstell said. "This was by far my dream job." He went on to call the position "the most awesome job (he's) ever had."
Bonstell said he has grown very close to his department, City staff and others around the community. He said he personally feels like he is letting everyone down. At the same time, he believes Knoxville's safety is being left in good hands.
"I think this department will continue to move forward," Bonstell said.
Bonstell started in Knoxville in February after an extensive search. The City said Bonstell has been instrumental in making positive changes within the department, and added that no decision has been made regarding whether or not an interim chief will be hired or how the position will be filled permanently. Bonstell's last day in the City's employ is Sept. 12.
We will continue to follow this story as it moves forward.