162 people got a rude awakening this morning in Amarillo. An elevator shaft at the Kiva Hotel was engulfed in flames, as Amarillo police hurried to evacuate all three floors of the building. NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg met with one man who escaped the fire.
Firefighters were at the scene of the fire about 5 minutes after the 9-11 call. A man who escaped the blaze says thats the reason no one was injured.
" Someone comes banging on your door and you wake up and there's black smoke everywhere yeah you freak out. As soon as I stepped out it was foggy, smoke everywhere, people yelling, it was pretty hectic," says Frank Martinez, who escaped the fire.
Martinez retraces the steps he took to escape this fire this morning. While firefighters on the roof try to douse the flames.
"It was pretty scary because you leave your room with all your stuff in there all you have is what you have on your back," says Martinez.
Fire officials are still investigating what caused the fire that burned right through the center of the building.
"There was a spark in the elevator shaft and that spread somehow. We're still kinda in the dark about that," says Michelle Reynolds, the front desk manager of the hotel.
The owner of the hotel even told us one man had to be rescued from the elevator minutes before the smoke filled the atrium. Martinez has since moved to another hotel, and is thankful everything turned out alright.
"It could've been a lot worse."
Both the hotel owner and manager told us the smoke alarms were working. But Martinez says he never heard a smoke alarm, and the sprinkler system did not turn on.
The owner of the hotel estimates his losses to be a few million dollars. He expects it will take a few weeks before repairs can be made and the hotel can re-open. He says the bar next door will lose about $4,000 a night.