Family: Critically injured firefighter remains in medically-induced coma

Family: Critically injured firefighter remains in medically-induced coma

Credit: Doug Miller / KHOU 11 News

A five-alarm fire broke out at the Southwest Inn shortly after noon Friday, blowing smoke across the Southwest Freeway near Hillcroft and slowing traffic in both directions.

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by Clay Falls / KBTX & KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on June 3, 2013 at 5:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 9:47 AM

Southwest Inn motel

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WELLBORN, Texas—The Houston firefighter most critically injured in Friday’s 5-alarm motel fire is in a medically-induced coma, according to relatives.

William Dowling and his fellow firefighters were trapped when the roof of the Southwest Inn collapsed on them.

Four firefighters were killed while battling the blaze off the Southwest Freeway near Hillcroft.

Dowling remains in very critical condition.

Dowling’s relatives spoke with KBTX, our sister station in College Station.

Nancy Wiese, who lives in Wellborn, is Dowling’s cousin. She said the news about Dowling got worse Friday as the day went on.

"Just shocked…and then when we found out that the roof fell on him and he was pinned," Wiese said. "Then they said they had to amputate one leg. And then they called and they said they had to amputate the other leg."

Dowling’s mom and dad grew up in College Station.

His father, Rickie Dowling, spoke with us by phone from Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston where his son is being treated.

"He thought maybe there were occupants in the burning building, so he entered the building with the crew. And, of course, those four perished and he was on top of the debris pinned in," explained Rickie Dowling.

William Dowling is a married father of three.

"We trust in God, and we know that he answers prayers. We’re just thankful that he’s alive," Rickie Dowling said. "I believe that God will raise him up and he’ll be a great testimony to the grace of God."

William Dowling is set to undergo another surgery Tuesday.

"Keep the family in your prayers," Wiese asked.

Dowling has been with the Houston Fire Department for 13 years and was captain at a station in Tomball. He also served in the Marines.

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