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Houston Fire Department Sounds The Final Alarm Bell For Captain Bill Dowling

Hundreds of people gathered at Houston Baptist University Wednesday to say goodbye to a fallen Houston firefighter. The ceremony was filled with tradition and memories.

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  • A slideshow on the life of Bill Dowling
    A slideshow on the life of Bill Dowling
  • Flag held aloft by ladder trucks
    Flag held aloft by ladder trucks
  • Fire trucks in line for procession
    Fire trucks in line for procession
  • Bill Dowling's Marine uniform
    Bill Dowling's Marine uniform
  • Dignitaries at service for Bill Dowling
    Dignitaries at service for Bill Dowling
  • Dignitaries at service for Bill Dowling
    Dignitaries at service for Bill Dowling
  • Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks at Bill Dowling memorial
    Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks at Bill Dowling memorial
  • A City of Houston flag is presented to Dowling's family.
    A City of Houston flag is presented to Dowling's family.
  • Marine honor guard folds flag from Dowling's casket.
    Marine honor guard folds flag from Dowling's casket.
  • Flag is presented to Dowling's daughter.
    Flag is presented to Dowling's daughter.
  • Dowling's wife Jacki speaking at the service.
    Dowling's wife Jacki speaking at the service.

It was standing room only as firefighters and friends remembered the man they called "Iron Bill." Captain Bill Dowling died last week from injuries he sustained fighting a massive fire four years ago.

The fire at the Southwest Inn killed four other firefighters. It was the deadliest day in Houston Fire Department history.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner remembered Dowling as a man who wasn't just a dedicated firefighter, but someone who was deeply committed to his family and his community.

"He served to protect our country, our freedom and our liberty," said Turner. "He came home to serve, to protect, and to provide safety to our city. And he gave his life serving our city."

Before firefighters sounded the final alarm bell, the assembled heard emotional words from Jacki Dowling.

She says she struggled with what happened to her husband until she came across his private prayer journal, where he listed the friends and co-workers who were in his thoughts.

"Bill is here lying in that coffin because he wanted God to use him to save you," said Dowling.

While the service was underway, firefighters from other departments manned Houston fire stations so colleagues could pay their respects.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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