Yesterday, was the deadliest, darkest day in the history of the Houston Fire Department. While searching rooms for guests at a large 'Mom and Pop' motel fire, the roof caved in, trapping and killing four Houston Firefighters, three men and one female firefighter. Two of the men were twelve year veterans. The other man was a six year veteran. The 24 year old female firefighter was still on probation, having just graduated from the HFD academy two months ago, in April. This was only the second fire call that she had made (and will ever make). Several other firefighters were injured, including one that remains in critical condition from burns.
I was a paid firefighter with a suburban Houston Department from 1974 to 1984, and our department assisted HFD on several large fires and EMS calls. This brings a flashback to my first call. A wood frame house was on fire at night and when we pulled the attic access door and ladder, down, the rush of oxygen to the attic fire, caused a ball of fire to shoot downward at me and other firefighters under it. Per protocol, we had a charged fire hose ready the second that it happened. After that, nothing I experienced was as frightening.
These firefighters will never be forgotten. The second deadliest day for the department was in 1929, when a firetruck was hit by a train, killing three firefighters.
As a fellow firefighter, my family and I want to express our thoughts and prayers to the families of the fallen as well as the rest of the HFD.
That is so very sad. I have good friend (Fellow Model T Owner) who is on the Fire Dept. and when I see him, I thank him for what he does for us all.
I failed to mention that this motel/restaurant complex has had a history of fire code and inspection violations, including grease traps not emptied regularly; fire alarms and smoke detectors not working; and gas tests not conducted per law. (last test was 12 years ago; should have been done every 5 years).
That is the worst kind of accident.Someone getting killed trying to save someone else.All the training will not save ye sometimes.
Seattle had the same type of disaster about 14 years ago 4 fire fighters were lost. My son is a fire fighter and they were his training officers.
and I knew them also.
Its a sad day when these things happens, but I'm afraid it is part of life. My prayers are with these families.
I've been a fireman, capt, and asst. chief for thirty one years now. It's easy to get complacent and think it wont happen to you. That's what I thought until a house fell on my partner and myself. We got out unharmed because of good training and luck but it will really change your respect for it. I realized it was time to let the young guys get in there and get it, I like this asst chief thing.
All, but the most seriously injured firefighter, are out of the hospital. Two of the last three firefighters injured in Houston's deadly motel fire, attended a public memorial service, Wednesday, for the fallen firefighters on stretchers. They were released Friday to finish recovery at home. Firefighters from as far away as New York City, attended the Wednesday memorial.
The last, most seriously injured firefighter is 40 year old Captain William Dowling. He is in a medically induced coma, having had his left leg amputated above the knee and his right leg, amputated below the knee
Captain Dowling's family has deep roots in Texas, so much that a downtown street is named for the family. His first ancestor, Richard William Dowling came to Texas in 1850. During the Civil War, he became Lt. Richard Dowling and made history by commanding an artillery battery in the Battle of Sabine Pass where a powerful squadron of Union warships was repulsed.