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Here are some more disturbing findings coming out of the investigation of the Boone, N.C., hotel where three guests apparently succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning and died.

The Charlotte Observer reported Sunday that the Best Western hotel didn’t put in carbon monoxide detectors — as recommended by an instruction manual — when it installed a pool heater believed to have been the source of the lethal gas.

 http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/08/11/3100415/boone-hotel-heater-came-with-warnings.html

Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza, run by Appalachian Hospitality Management, had transferred that heater out of another hotel operated by the company, a Sleep Inn, in 2011, the Observer reported. The move of that heater, by the way, was done without any permit or inspection, which the newspaper said was an apparent violation of North Carolina’s building code.

Here is the rundown in this series of errors by the hotel and public officials that apparently led to three innocent victims losing their lives.

In April an elderly married couple, Daryl and Shirley Jenkins, died in room 225 of the Best Western. Despite the suspicious nature of their deaths, local fire officials never tested for carbon monoxide at the scene, according to the Observer.

The county medical examiner didn’t deign to come to the hotel room, nor did he ask for a toxicology test on Mrs. Jenkins to be expedited. That report ended up being sent to the ME a week before room 225 had claimed a third victim, 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams. The report said that Mrs. Jenkins had deadly levels of CO in her blood.

Nonetheless room 225, located directly above the hotel pool, remained in use.  And Williams died. The ME has since resigned.

The Observer obtained a copy of the owner’s manual for the Jandy Lite 2 pool heater that the Best Western moved from the Sleep Inn. Its first page “strongly recommends” that carbon monoxide detectors be installed near the heater when it is used for an indoor pool, the paper reported.

The manual also warns that faulty installation of the heater can cause death or severe injury from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Observer.

And here’s another little twist in the case. The Best Western had a contractor convert fireplaces in the rooms that had them, which included 225, to natural gas. As part of that process, the contractor was supposed to install carbon monoxide detectors in rooms that had undergone the conversion. Instead, the contractor mistakenly put in alarms that detected combustible gas, the Observer said, not CO.

Needless to say, a carbon monoxide alarm in room 225 would have saved several lives.

Thankfully, the three victims have not died in vain. Last month the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that mandates that hotels put in CO detectors in enclosed spaces that have that a fossil-fuel-burning appliance, heater or fireplace, as well as in hotel rooms that share a floor, wall or ceiling with such spaces, the Observer reported.

That law goes into effect in October.

Police in North Carolina have broadened their investigation the deaths of  three guests of carbon monoxide poisoning at a hotel, now looking at two additional hotels owned by the same company, according to WRAL.

http://www.wral.com/boone-hotel-carbon-monoxide-death-probe-continues/12634505/

Authorities in Boone, N.C., said that their probe of the April 16 deaths of Daryl Jenkins and his wife Shirley Mae, and the June 8 death of Jeffrey Williams, 11, will continue into July, the TV station reported. The three victims died after staying in the same room at the Best Western Blue Ridge Plaza. The hotel has been closed since Williams’ death.

AJD Investments owns the Best Western as well as the Sleep Inn and Country Inns & Suites in Boone, and all three hotels are managed by Appalachian Hospitality Management, WRAL reported.

Police are now collecting records from the Sleep Inn and Country Inns, and questioning employees at both establishments. That’s because all three hotels shared workers and equipment, according to WRAL.

Once police finish their investigation, they will submit their findings to the local district attorney to see if criminal charges should be brought.

Authorities blame a malfunctioning pool heater for releasing fatal doses of carbon monoxide at the Best Western. The Watauga County Medical Examiner has resigned over his handling, or alleged mishandling, of the three deaths at the hotel.

He didn’t look at the bodies of the three victims at the scene, and didn’t order expedited tests to confirm that the first two people, the elderly married couple, had died of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to WRAL. Then the hotel still rented out the room where they had died, leading to the death of Williams and injury to his mother, Jeannie Williams.

Because of the carbon monoxide she breathed in, and rendered her unconscious, the woman can only walk using a walker, and she is trying to get back the full use of her arms and legs, WRAL reported.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two housekeepers at a Chattanooga, Tenn., hotel had to be hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning Friday, according to WDEF-TV.

http://www.wdef.com/news/story/Carbon-Monoxide-Leak-Identified-at-Hixson-Motel/N4hnWcZvG0uY5Y7fGbSgoA.cspx

The incident happened at the Hixson Holiday Inn Express, where the housekeepers where in the basement when they began to feel flu-like symptoms, according to the TV station. The local fire department blamed the carbon monoxide leak on bad work done by someone who fixed a broken water heater.

A Chattanooga fire official said that the worker disconnected an exhaust pipe on the broken water heater, and then two working water heaters took in that exhaust and spewed it out into the hotel, WDEF reported.

The Holiday Inn Express doesn’t have carbon monoxide detectors, nor does it have to under state law. Effective Jan. 2, only new hotels or those undergoing renovation have to install the detectors, according to WDEF.

A guest at a West Virginia hotel died of carbon monoxide poisoning this week, and his demise has prompted the local mayor to try to take action. He wants to require that all lodgings in his city install carbon monoxide detectors. But this tragedy is not only a lesson for him, but for states across the nation. 

Tuesday construction worker William Moran, a 44-year-old Rhode Island resident, was found dead in a fifth floor room of the Holiday Inn Express in South Charleston, W. Va., according to the Associated Press. Four other men were also discovered in that room, suffering from symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/west-virginia-hotel-evacuated-after-1-guest-dies-4-others-sick-carbon-monoxide-detected/2012/01/31/gIQAgMtefQ_story.html

The hotel was evacuated, and authorities found high levels of the deadly gas. They believe the carbon monoxide came from a pool heater.

South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens was shocked by the death, and wants an ordinance drafted to mandate that hotels to install life-saving carbon monoxide detectors, according to the Daily Mail. That paper then went on to do a stellar job of explaining the ridiculousness of hotels being required to have smoke alarms, but not carbon monoxide detectors.

 http://blogs.wvgazette.com/watchdog/2012/02/01/why-doesnt-w-va-require-co-alarms-in-hotels/

Some 25 states have laws requiring carbon monoxide detectors in residential businesses, including West Virginia. But only a handful of states  — apparently New Jersey, Michigan, Vermont,  Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Minnesota — require the monitors in hotels, according to the Daily Mail.

But the newspaper cites data from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine that says a survey of 100 hotel-chain properties found that only 11 percent of them had installed carbon monoxide detectors.

The Daily Mail also referred to statistics from 1989 to 2004, which said there were 68 incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning at hotels, with 772 sickened. Of those, 27 people died.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association recommends that its members install carbon monoxide detectors in their hotels, according to the Daily Mail.

But what is it going to take, how many senseless deaths, to get national legislation ordering hotels to have carbon monoxide detectors?