Houston Baptist University hosted the public memorial service for Houston Fire Captain “Iron Bill” Dowling on March 15. His widow, Jacki Dowling, is an HBU alum.
Based at Station 68, Dowling was badly injured when responding to a five alarm fire at the Southwest Inn, considered the deadliest in Houston Fire Department history, when the roof collapsed on him and other firefighters in May 2013. Trapped under the burning rubble, he suffered a brain injury and the loss of both legs. Dowling had been recently hospitalized for pneumonia and cellulitis.
His widow found comfort in a prayer Dowling wrote shortly before the accident, “”Please use me to lead others to You.” She noted, “Right then, I knew why Bill was chosen. He would not have the impact he’s had without any other way. If you don’t know Jesus, please take the time to get to know him. His love goes beyond anything the world can offer.”
More than 2,000 people were in attendance and firefighters from all over the state of Texas marched in procession to pay tribute to Dowling.
His family received both a flag from the Marines and a Medal of Honor from the International Association of Firefighters, its highest honor.