HOUSTON (FOX 26) - HFD Captain “Iron Bill” Dowling, who was seriously injured in a deadly 2013 fire, passed away Tuesday.
Captain Dowling lost both of his legs battling the Southwest Inn fire in 2013 that claimed the lives of four other firefighters.
Captain Dowling was a Houston firefighter for more than a decade before he was injured in the fire.
Houston Fire Department released a statement about Captain Dowling's passing:
The men and women of the Houston Fire Department mourn the loss Captain William ‘Iron Bill’ Dowling. Captain William Dowling has died on Today, March 7, 2017. Captain Dowling entered the Houston Fire Department 17 years ago, on March 21, 2000. He retired on June 1, 2013 after suffering career ending and life altering injuries in the Southwest Inn fire on May 31, 2013, that killed four other Houston firefighters. The Southwest Inn fire is considered the deadliest day in Houston Fire Department history. 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.
Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association also released a statement remembering Captain Dowling:
The men and women of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association mourn the loss of our brother Captain William ‘Iron Bill’ Dowling. After heroically fighting to overcome the life-altering injuries he sustained in the 2013 Southwest Inn fire that killed four other Houston firefighters, Captain Dowling passed away today due to complications of the injuries.
The HPFFA, the City of Houston, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), and members of the IAFF in the Dowlings’ newly adopted state of Colorado are working to assist the family and affected firefighters during this difficult time.
As we begin to reflect on Captain Dowling’s life, we remember why we call him ‘Iron Bill.’ The incredible strength and bravery he showed as he and his family rebuilt his life – and theirs – after his injuries inspired us all. We also are grateful to our firefighter brothers and sisters in Houston and around the world for the extraordinary assistance they provided to the Dowlings since 2013 – from medical equipment and other items to friendship, support and thoughts and prayers.
We also are thinking about and praying for other Houston firefighters who, like ‘Iron Bill’ have suffered long-term and career ending injuries at the Southwest Inn fire – especially our brothers and sisters at Stations 51 and 68 and the families of fallen firefighters Matthew Renaud, Robert Bebee, Robert Garner, and Anne Sullivan, who were lost on May 31, 2013.
Please keep the Dowling family, and all of the men and women of our fire department, and the families of those lost, recently and throughout our history, in your thoughts and prayers.