Texas firefighters fill in during 'Iron Bill' Dowling's memorial

Since many HFD members went to Capt. "Iron Bill" Dowling's public memorial service Wednesday, firefighters from around the state stepped in to help serve.

Since many Houston Fire Department members went to Capt. "Iron Bill" Dowling's public memorial service Wednesday, others had to cover the fire stations.

Those firefighters did in a big way.

Departments from around the state came to assist the Houston Fire Department.They were firefighters from Forth Worth, Lubbock and Plano, among others.

In total, 200 men and women from 26 departments came to pinch hit.

"We're sad for our brothers and sisters here in Houston, and we're here to help them in any way we can," said Captain Mark Hardy of the Plano Fire Department.

Fort Worth brought the most members.

"This way, (HFD firefighters) can focus on their fallen brother, attend the service and not think about what's going on at the station," said Captain Ryan Zelazny, "It's intimidating when you're stepping on someone else's truck. You're in unfamiliar territory."

Captain Zelazny, who filled in when HFD held its funeral for the other four members lost in the Southwest Inn Fire, said the day also presented challenges for members covering.

He said the equipment is similar, but not their own, so his personnel and others had to game plan all morning to ensure service for citizens stayed as regular as possible

"We had to make sure citizens don't notice that we're wearing a Fort Worth uniform rather than a Houston uniform," Zelazny said.

Lubbock firefighters responded to a nasty crash near downtown Wednesday, investigating perhaps in foreign but familiar territory at the same time.

"We train every day, and that's what they train us to do: to be able to do something like this," said Tommy Alonzo, firefighter for Lubbock FD.

An HFD member was on every truck doing the driving, because navigating around Houston is no easy task, according to most firefighters.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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