Houston Fire Chief: Recommit to Safety After Firefighter Death

March 17, 2017

The Houston fire chief says the recent death of a firefighter from injuries he suffered four years ago must spur a renewed commitment to firefighter safety to avoid future fatalities.

Chief Samuel Pena spoke at a memorial service for retired Houston fire Capt. William Dowling, who died last week of complications from his injuries.

Pena says Dowling’s death is an urgent reminder that leaders must improve on the “unacceptable” loss of firefighters’ lives.

Dowling responded in May 2013 to a restaurant fire that spread to an adjoining Southwest Inn.

The roof of the structure eventually collapsed, trapping firefighters inside. Four were killed that day and more than a dozen injured.

A federal report later said several factors contributed to the deaths, including communication problems among emergency personnel.

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