Tulsa entrepreneurs lose everything in house fire

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Collaborator: Brittany Harlow
Published: 11/06/2021, 1:08 PM
Edited: 11/09/2021, 2:34 AM

(TULSA, Okla.) Just two months after launching their business, a Tulsa couple is facing the worst setback of their lives. 

Robert and Shanna Hilton have been married nearly 28 years, and have lived in this house even longer. 

“This is where all of our kids have taken their first steps,” Robert said. “You know, said their first words. Everything we’ve had in 28 years is wrapped up here. You know, it’s been a little unsettling. Because not only am I trying to run a business, I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to get this back together.” 

After spending most of his life working as an auto mechanic, Robert tells us he decided to go into the security business for himself in August. With their first client living conveniently five minutes away from their house, it gave the Hiltons time to work on the other aspects of their business R&H Security, like finding more contracts. 

But all of that went up in flames on October 21.

“The tone in my boy’s voice let me know something was wrong,” Robert said. 

“When my son said the house is on fire, I was like, oh, probably no biggie,” Shanna said. “So, when I pulled up and we see the flames shooting out of the front door I was like, oh my god, it really is on fire.” 

“My 30-year-old son was just standing here in the doorway with a water hose trying to fight the flames off,” Robert said. “And the flames was already coming out of the top of the door facing.” 

Robert said the fire department pulled up behind them and prevented the home from being a total loss, but everything they owned is gone. 

They now have to drive across town every day to continue to serve their client while figuring out how to get their home back.

“Right now, me and the wife is getting maybe about maybe four hours’ worth of sleep at night,” Robert said. 

The Hiltons said they believe the cause of the fire was electrical. Firefighters said it started near the stove.

We’re told they were quoted between $20k and $30k worth of repairs. They had no insurance.

“It’d come to a point to where we’d had a decision to make,” Robert said. “Either pay bills or get homeowner’s insurance. And of course, the bills won out.” 

“When I came back the next day, and I just walked through, and I just… just tears just started flowing,” Shanna said. “Just so many memories and everything. But we have each other and it can be repaired so I was just thankful. Just thankful.”  

And thankfully, they’re not alone. Local non-profit Carabelle’s Legacy Inc. told us the Hiltons are the first family they have been able to provide help to since their organization was founded. 

The Hilton’s tell us Going Hard For Christ Church has also offered to pay for a dumpster to throw all of their belongings away in, a necessary first step before any repairs can be made. 

But they still have a long way to go. 

“We haven’t gave up,” Shanna said. “We just hold on each other and support each other. We have our good days and bad days but we know that we’re all together and so we just make the best of it.” 

Robert said he’s hoping God makes away for them to be back in their home in time for Christmas. 

Donations made to the family through Carabelle’s Legacy Inc. are tax-deductible. 

A GoFundMe has also been set up to help the Hilton family. Click here to donate

For anyone wanting to donate items, they need:

Kitchen and living room restoration (donated services, estimates, etc.)

Kitchen appliances and accessories

Living room furniture

Temporary housing


Clothing donations

Shirt/Pants/Shoes Sizes

Male. 3xl. 38W30L. 12

Female. 2XL. 22. 10

Female. 2XL. 24. 11

Male. Med. 32. 12

So far, the family has received a new stove and a mattress.

Note: This story has been updated to include the suspected cause of the fire.


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