Houston fire department units and personnel lined up to salute Captain Bill Dowling as he left Houston’s Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center to head home.
Captain Dowling lost both of his legs and suffered brain damage after getting trapped in the horrific fire on May 31st at the Southwest Inn. The fire was the deadliest in the Houston Fire Department’s 118 year history, with four firefighters dying while fighting the blaze. Dowling was trapped in the fire with his legs pinned by burning debris. He was awake and alert when he was rescued and shouted to his fellow firefighters to let his wife know he would be okay. His condition, however, worsened quickly. After the medical amputation and he had awakened after several weeks of sedation, it became apparent that he suffered hypoxia. The condition left him barely able to communicate.
Dowling’s parents live in College Station and his family members have been keeping up with his progress.
Thirteen firefighters were injured in that blaze.