Texas firefighters stand watch as Houston honors Capt. Bill Dowling

HOUSTON – Firefighters from across Texas traveled to Houston so that local firefighters could attend Capt. Bill Dowling’s funeral. Many of them said when they got the call to help, it was only second nature to do so.

“It’s a brotherhood we all help each other out. Our job in its self is to provide a service, and this is, kind of, the pinnacle of service we can provide is to help our brothers and sisters out,” said Capt. Ryan Zelazny, from Fort Worth Fire Department.

He said they brought 26 men from the department to provide “back fill,” so that the men and women in the Houston Fire Department could step out and attend Dowling’s funeral.

“As soon as that message comes through all of us, it’s just an instant response that we’re going to step up and help these fellow brothers up here,” said Capt. Randy Bayes, from Sugarland.

He said they all remember very distinctively the day of the Southwest Inn fire.

“Today is a very emotional day for everybody,” said Bayes, who talked about the tight brother and sisterhood of firefighters. “Through social media, you’ve watched the Dowling family be very open with their journey through all of this. So, it’s just been an emotional attachment with this and just the bottom line of it is just the fire service and that brotherhood develops, and it’s hard for emotions to not run high for that stuff.”

Dowling also worked at Station 19 in Houston during his career.

“Capt. Dowling was bigger than life. He was a guy all the men respected,” said Capt. D.L. Elliot. "Someone who would put the public way ahead of themselves at the risk of  harm, which we witnessed at that fire."