Thomas was the son of John and Margaret Bradley. He began his firefighting career in 1949 with the Bessemer Fire Department after serving in the Navy during World War II. He worked for the Birmingham Fire Department from 1951 until 1973, when he retired as a captain.
Bradley continued to work as a fire inspector for an insurance company. In 1976 he was named Hoover's first full-time fire chief. During his tenure, the fire department grew from one station with 16 firefighters to nine stations with about 170 firefighters. Bradley was also involved in the creation of the Birmingham Regional EMS System.
Bradley and his wife, Rebecca had six children. He was an active member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church.
- Walton, Val (January 6, 2009) "Hoover fire chief Tom Bradley to retire." The Birmingham News
- Anderson, Jon (February 4, 2009) "Tom Bradley: Hoover, Alabama fire chief who never forgot his men." The Birmingham News
- Robinson, Carol (December 7, 2020) "Funeral and procession announced for retired Hoover Fire Chief Tom Bradley who served 60 years as firefighter." The Birmingham News
- "Thomas Edward Bradley" obituary (December 7, 2020) The Birmingham News