I’ve done several blogs on the lessons to be learned, and actions that should be taken, after three guests perished from carbon monoxide poisoning in a Best Western Hotel in Boone, N.C.

To refresh your memory, an elderly couple — Daryl Jenkins, 72, and his wife Shirley, 72 — were found dead in hotel room 225 on April 16.

Watauga County Medical Examiner Dr. Brent Hall knew on June 1 that carbon monoxide was the culprit in the death of Shirley, according to lab tests.

But for some inexplicable reason, Hall didn’t warn local police about the threat to Best Western guests until another one of them — 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams — died of CO poisoning the the same room as the Jenkins, Room 225, on June 8, according to The Charlotte Observer and WCNC.

Boone police didn’t get toxicology reports from Hall on the couple until June 10. Daryl Jenkins’ toxicology report had come in the day before.

Hall resigned from his post on Friday.

As I’ve written, hotels have an obligation to not just evacuate guests if there is a carbon monoxide leak. Hotel officials need to find the source of the carbon monoxide leak and remedy the situation. The hotel should not take in any guests until this is all done.

In addition, a hotel like the Best Western needs to follow-up with recent guests to determine if they suffered any bodily damage, including brain injury, as the result of their exposure to carbon monoxide.

And there’s a case on point here, which has just come to light. Three days after the Jenkins died at the Best Western in Boone,  a group of girls celebrating a sleepover 13th birthday party in a suite above the contaminated room became ill, according to The Charlotte Observer and WCNC.

 The girls complained of symptoms typical of carbon monoxide poisoning, including headaches and vomiting. The mother who had rented the room, 325, for her daughter’s pool party said she told hotel officials what happened. They were nonchalant and didn’t indicate they would take any action, despite the fact the elderly couple had died just days before of suspected CO poisoning.

The young girls should need to have medical exams.



By Attorney Gordon Johnson

Call me at 800-992-9447

Carbon monoxide poisoning has ruined another summer weekend, this time at the  Travel Lodge Hotel in Lake Delton, Wisconsin.  Carbon monoxide was discovered at the hotel when an employee at the hotel was taken ill. At the hospital, it was determined that carbon monoxide was the cause.  Lake Delton police and fire then determined that there a high level of carbon monoxide in the hotel, according to Fox News 6:

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Essential for Carbon Monoxide Exposure

According to first reports several others were found to have been poisoned and taken to Milwaukee for treatment.  As hyperbaric oxygen treatment is the norm for such cases, it is hoped that all those identified to have carboxyhemoglobin in his or her blood, are receiving such treatment right now.

This case is further evidence for our point made yesterday, that in such cases, the hotels obligation to the public is not just to ask those evacuated whether they might feel ill.  See The hotel has a clear obligation to discover the cause of the carbon monoxide and how it got outside of the chimney which should be exhausting it.  Under no circumstances should any guests be allowed back in the hotel until repairs are made and extensive testing be done to prove everything is safe.

Guarantee to All Guests That Hotel is Carbon Monoxide Free

The hotel needs to understand that returning guests to the hotel would be like flying passengers in an airplane, when a warning light is going off. Until such time as the cause of the warning light is determined and repaired, the FAA and any responsible airline would not allow the plane to fly.  Carbon monoxide can be just as dangerous as a broken airliner and can result in a similar mass catastrophe.

All Cases of CO Poisoning Must be Found and Treated

Further, the CO poisoning may not have started today. Carbon monoxide poisoning is not always recognized as such, as apparently it was not initially done here.  Thus, there could be others who are suffering from its effects who were not still at the hotel when emergency crews arrived.  Carboxyhemoglobin may be still in the blood of guests who had already departed the hotel and those who have been in the hotel recently.

Just because a person does not succumb to carbon monoxide immediately, does not mean that they may not have serious health risks from it.  Anyone with flu like symptoms, heart symptoms, or other organ problems, can be experiencing those issues because of CO. It is critical to remember that the effects of CO damage can actually get worse over time.   As we discussed yesterday, Delayed Neurological Sequelae (DNS) occurs in a substantial proportion of those with CO poisoning for up to 40 days after the carbon monoxide exposure. Thus, it is imperative that all those exposed be monitored until they are symptom free.

No Repeat of the Double Carbon Monoxide Tragedy of Boone

We can only hope that the national attention that the double tragedy in the Boone North Carolina Best Western, will have its impact on Lake Delton.  The tragedy of Room 225 in Boone, North Carolina, can not be repeated in Wisconsin. One fatal carbon monoxide catastrophe is too much.  Preventing further deaths and injuries can only be done by making sure that all those with carbon monoxide poisoning get full medical treatment.  And for God’s sake, put a carbon monoxide detector in every single room. More on that tomorrow.