KILLEEN, Texas – Around 8:30 p.m. Friday night, firefighters from the Killeen Fire Department as well as fire stations from seven neighboring fire departments battled a massive fire in freezing temperatures at the Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Killeen for nearly four hours before the fire was under control just after midnight.
Killeen Fire Chief James Kubinski says fire crews arrived to the scene to find fire coming from the roof of the hotel and firefighting efforts were hindered due to the automatic sprinkler system installed in the hotel was not working because of frozen pipes.
Guests reported they also did not hear fire alarms when the fire raging over their heads.
“I didn’t hear any alarms going off,” Deborah Vaquerah said. “What I heard was a lot of noise in the hallway, and I heard people banging on the doors unusually loud.”
Vaquera remembers guests going up and down the hallways to make sure everyone was aware of the fire.
“They just said ‘get out, get out, fire, get out,'” Vaquera said.
Chief Kubinski says the hotel was reported to have all 102 rooms fully occupied with guests at the time of the fire, however only one guest was treated for minor injuries at the scene and released. Chief Kubinski added that it was reported, but not confirmed, that two other guests drove themselves to a local hospital to be checked for smoke inhalation.
Chief Kubinski also says that at this time the department has not received any reports of injured guests or employees and that there were no injuries to any firefighters working the blaze.
The Emergency Management Office of the Killeen Fire Department transported a number of hotel guests to the Skyline BAptist Church to provide shelter from the bitter cold until the Red Cross provides assistance to displaced guests.
The Killeen Fire Department asks that if you were a guest of the hotel that has been displaced, to please contact (254) 501-8864 and provide your name, room number, number of occupants and a contact phone number or email. Guests can also go to the hotel’s lobby to collect their belongings.
Source: Killeen Fire Department