HOUSTON—The Houston firefighter most critically injured in Friday’s massive motel fire is set to undergo another surgery on Tuesday.
Family members said Capt. William Dowling remains in a medically induced coma but continues to make strides.
Dowling and his fellow firefighters were trapped when the roof of the Southwest Inn collapsed on them. Four of them died. Dowling remains in very critical condition.
"They took off one leg above the knee. The next day, he wasn’t doing real well, and they took off his other foot right below the knee," said Rickie Dowling, his father.
Dowling serves at Station 68, which is also mourning the loss of two of its own: firefighters Robert Garner and Anne Sullivan.
Rickie Dowling said they risked their lives and rushed inside the burning Southwest Inn because they feared people were trapped inside.
"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.
According to family members, Dowling was most concerned about others as he was being rushed to the hospital.
"He said, ‘Tell the kids and Jacki I’m fighting for them. I won’t give up.’ He knew how bad he was hurt. He asked about his crew. He wanted to know where his crew was, were they safe, were they OK," explained younger brother John Dowling.
Family members praised God for sparing Capt. Dowling’s life.
Loved ones said their Christian faith is the glue holding them together.
"I believe God has given me the assurance, after much prayer and fasting, that he will live and not die," said Rickie Dowling.
Through it all, family members and fellow firefighters have been praying by Cpt. Dowling’s bedside.
"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."
Capt. Dowling has been with the Houston Fire Department for 13 years. He is also a foster parent and a Marine.
He and his wife Jacki have three children and are graduates of Klein Oak High School.
The family has set up a CaringBridge site: www.caringbridge.org/visit/williamdowling
The site password is ross68