Lifestyle

Capt. Bill Dowling Passed Away From Complications of Southwest Inn Fire

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In 2013, Houston firefighters responded to a massive fire at the Southwest Inn on the Southwest Freeway. The CW39 says it was the “deadliest day in the history of HFD.” Firefighters Matthew Renaud, Robert Bebee, Robert Garber, and Anne Sullivan all lost their lives when the roof collapsed, trapping them in smoke. Captain Bill Dowling was barely able to survive and sustained life-altering injuries. Click2Houston says that 13 other first responders were injured.

Dowling suffered after the fateful day in May 2013. Both of his legs had to be amputated and the inhalation of smoke and lack of oxygen left him with brain damage. Though he wasn’t able to communicate well, Dowling’s spirit earned him the nickname “Iron Bill” among his friends and family, and a year later he was able to see his son graduate from Marine boot camp.

Part of the statement from the Houston Fire Department reads, “Captain Dowling passed away today due to complications of the injuries. The incredible strength and bravery he showed as he and his family rebuilt his life – and theirs – after his injuries inspired us all. Please keep the Dowling family and all of the men and women of our fire department in your prayers.”