Capt. Thomas Dillion, known as Bill, died last Wednesday while responding to a small apartment kitchen fire. An official cause is pending, but it's believed the 22-year veteran suffered a heart attack. Fellow fire-fighters performed CPR, but could not save him. Hundreds joined Capt Dillion's family in the celebration of his life at Second Baptist Church West in Katy, including Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and Houston Mayor Annise Parker.
"I'm here not as an individual, but as a symbol of the City of Houston, the city he served. We are all sharing in the family's grief today, but we obviously cannot feel it the way you feel it."
Hundreds of fellow firefighters from all over Texas were also in attendance. Nathan Alonzo is with the San Antonio Fire Dept.
"We live at the fire station together 24 hours on, and you do the job and you work shoulder to shoulder, right next to each other. And it builds a strong bond between us all, and then we get a chance to see your familes, your wife and your kids. To say that the firefighters are family, that's kind of an understatement. The comaraderie that's always there is just something that you can't measure."
The ceremony included the ringing of the bell and a final transmission from dispatch.
"Senior Captain Dillion, you were a dedicated member within this department and therefore, will be truly missed. Farewell Bill. KTZ-377...Fire Department, Houston."
This family was impressed with the final farewell:
Man: "I think it takes a lot of passion and committment to put together as something as huge as it was."
Woman: "I've never been to a service like that before, and I really enjoyed it. I never knew the man, but I can tell he was very loved in the community. So, it was good, I'm glad I'm here."
Dillion was laid to rest at a private graveside service. He is survived by his wife and three children.