Lt. Kevin Dowdell was 20 years in and didn’t want to retire. He loved Rescue 4. He never put in for captain because he didn’t want to leave Rescue. “I’d rather be a happy lieutenant,” he often said. In the course of his long career, Dowdell received 20 citation bars and a medal for rescuing a woman after a diner exploded and collapsed. Along with other rescue specialists from the FDNY, he went to Oklahoma City as a member of FEMA to help in the recovery of victims.
On the side, Dowdell had a construction business.
He loved to go surfing with his two sons. When they took up the bagpipes and snare drum, he joined in with a bass drum so he could spend time practicing with them and march in the parade in his kilt. One of those sons would later join the FDNY. The only thing of Dowdell’s ever found in the ruins was one of his tools.