Houston Fire Captain “Iron Bill” Dowling’s death will be considered in the line of duty although it’s been four years since the Southwest Inn blaze that left him permanently disabled.
The mother of a young firefighter who died that day reflects on Dowling’s death and legacy.
“He survived it and was still fighting for his life,” Mary Sullivan said.
Her daughter, Anne Sullivan, was a rookie firefighter who was trained by Dowling.
She says he provided a lesson in courage for everyone else in the years since.
“To see Bill fighting, it’s like the fire hasn’t completely won,” Sullivan said.
Photos: Capt. Bill Dowling, family in Durango, Colorado
Unable to speak after the fire, Dowling communicated with her through his eyes.
“And it was comforting to just be around him and still have him with us,” Sullivan said.
The circumstances of Dowling’s death are different from her daughter’s.
But the origins of two families’ grief are forever linked.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them,” Sullivan said.
Coincidentally, we interviewed Sullivan after she watched a Travis High School student-produced documentary about Anne called “Phoenix.”
Meanwhile, we’ll let you know as soon as funeral arrangements for Captain Dowling are released.