Former HFD Captain 'Iron Bill' Dowling dies

Former HFD Captain Bill Dowling died Tuesday in Colorado.

Former HFD Captain Bill Dowling has died, according to his family.

Dowling's family asked for prayers early Tuesday when he was hospitalized in Colorado for pneumonia and cellulitis.

Dowling lost both legs and suffered a brain injury after a roof collapsed on him while he was fighting the five-alarm Southwest Inn fire in 2013.

“He's struggling really hard and needs a major intervention. He is very anxious and has not rested well, going on 4 days,” his family posted on Facebook early Tuesday. “Please go to God and ask for immediate healing and peace.”

Photos: Capt. Bill Dowling, family in Colorado

The man known as “Iron Bill” and his wife Jacki moved to Durango, Colo. last year to continue his recovery.

KHOU 11 News anchor Ron Trevino visited the family last fall.

Raw: Full interviews with Captain Bill Dowling and his family

“It’s been a roller coaster of health issues after health issues,” Jackie said then. “He gets better, and then pneumonia or he’ll have to have another surgery and all of those set him back to square one.”

Watch: Capt. Dowling's new life in Colorado

She said they almost lost him last February when he had to be hospitalized, but he pulled through.

The Houston Fire Department released a statement regarding Dowling's death:

"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 mayor Sylvester Turner joined HFD, saying, "Captain Dowling left us on the day we were honoring our first responders at the Houston Rodeo.  He was truly a hero whose service to the city will not be forgotten.  I ask all Houstonians to pray for his family and friends."

Watch: Capt. 'Iron Bill' Dowling honored at RodeoHouston

Behind the Scenes: Captain Bill Dowling in Durango, Colorado

The Houston Fire Fighters Association also released a statement:

“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.”

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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