Shirley began volunteering with the department three years before he graduated from Chelsea High School in 1984. He completed Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Paramedic training programs at UAB in 1986. He was promoted to chief of the department and the city's emergency management coordinator in 2001, serving until his death from a chronic condition.
- Robinson, Carol (August 6, 2020) "Longtime Chelsea fire chief dies after nearly month-long hospitalization." The Birmingham News