The widow of a Houston fire captain is suing Motorola over allegations that faulty radios were to blame for the massive brain injury her husband suffered during the deadly 2013 Southwest Inn blaze.
William “Iron Bill” Dowling was among more than a dozen firefighters injured in Houston Fire Department’s deadliest tragedy when the hotel roof collapsed 12 minutes into the five-alarm call. Four more, Robert Bebee, Robert Garner, Matthew Renaud, and Anne Sullivan, were killed instantly. Dowling died in March 2017 because of complications he suffered in the fire.
The lack of oxygen in the burning building caused the “catastrophic” brain damage that “left him with the mental capacity of a 5-6-year-old child,” according to the lawsuit filed last week in Harris County District Court. The case has since been transferred to federal court.
Dowling’s wife, Jacki Dowling, believes the radio equipment used by the firefighters “delayed rescuers from reaching him in time to prevent a substantial loss of oxygen.”