HOUSTON – Thousands of people are expected to pay tribute to former Houston Fire Capt. “Iron Bill” Dowling Wednesday morning at a public memorial.
Dowling died a week ago in a Colorado hospital from injuries stemming from the deadly Southwest Inn fire in 2013.
Before he went to Station 68, Dowling called Station 19 home for most of his 13-year career.
The crew in northeast Houston will be among hundreds of firefighters expected to head to that memorial, and all Houstonians are invited to join them.
Over the weekend Houstonians lined the streets for the arrival of Captain Dowling’s body from Colorado, where he had been living since last year.
On Tuesday, fire officials said that’s a good indication the memorial Wednesday morning will be packed.
It’ll be held inside the 2,000-seat Morris Cultural Arts Center on Houston Baptist University’s campus.
The ceremony starts 10 a.m., but the procession starts at 8:45 a few blocks away at Southwest Freeway and Fondren.
Drivers should know that part of Fondren will close at 7 a.m. and the frontage road 8 a.m.
Dignitaries and Dowling’s extended family will be there, and so will those who served alongside the captain and knew him best.
“I know from my heart this man would be overwhelmed by everything that’s going on. I don’t know if he would have the words to express what would be going on but I know his family and himself greatly appreciate this,” Al Goebel, with HFD, said.
The service should last about two hours.
Fire officials aren’t sure if the families of the other four firefighters killed in the Southwest Inn Fire will be attending.
If you want to go, you do not need a ticket. There is public parking at Lot 3, but get there early.
The streets should start reopening once the memorial starts at 10 a.m.
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