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Locals say Hilton Garden Inn has shared no plans to help guests recover after fire

Posted at 11:14 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 00:14:08-05

KILLEEN, TX — Dozens had to rush down flights of stairs through smoke and flames to escape the Hilton Garden Inn in Killeen when it caught fire Friday night.

“You really didn’t have time to react. He really didn’t have time to do anything but just fear for your life and pray that you make it out of there,” said guest Dana Smith.

Escaping was no easy feat, especially for Smith, who wears an oxygen tank for her heart complications, and her 64-year-old aunt, Bertha, who has a bionic foot and is on dialysis. The two, along with Darryl Walker and Sharon Hines, had to escape from the 4th floor.

“I have health problems, and going down three flights of stairs in panic is not an easy thing,” said Smith.

The group says they left several items behind, including jewelry, laptops and even medical equipment, like a CPAP machine. They say the hotel let them retrieve their lost items but never talked about plans to replace their items lost in the fire.

The group says the hotel also didn't check in and see if they’re okay.

“I know you have to worry about your business, but the people make that business for you, which is us the customers,” said Twice as Funny Comedy Lounge co-owner Darryl Walker. “For me to sit there and hear them talk about plans moving forward or whatever and not worrying about what happened to us that kind of rub me the wrong way.”

The group manages the company Twice as Funny Comedy Lounge and say they have worked with the hotel for several years, but have never had an experience like this.

“We bring all of their comedians there and have been for the past three years. Every weekend we spend money with that hotel. I find that very disturbing, with a life-threatening situation that no one has reached out to say anything,” said Twice as Funny Comedy Lounge co-owner Sharon Hines.

The groups hope the hotel reaches out to everyone involved in the fire to help them recover from the traumatic experience.

25 News reached out to the Hilton Garden Inn but they were unable to give us a common at this time.