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Unfortunately, the United States isn’t the only country where guests are being killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels.

There has been some legal resolution over the deaths of Christianne Shepherd, 7, and her brother Robert, 6, who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning in October 2006 in a hotel in Corfu, Greece. According to Travel Weekly UK, the British kids died when a gas boiler used to heat water for their room malfunctioned, sending the deadly gas into their quarters at the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel.

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2013/07/30/44829/cook+wins+damages+from+carbon+monoxide+deaths+hotel.html

Now a judge had ruled that tour operator Thomas Cook wasn’t liable for the tragic accident, and ordered the hotel to pay interim damages to Cook of 1 million pounds, Travel Weekly UK reported.

Cook is seeking 5 million pounds in damages, for expenses it paid as a result of the accidental deaths, including legal fees for two of its employees who were originally charged with manslaughter in Greece. One of those workers was acquitted and charges were dropped against the other one.

Three employees of the hotel, including its manager at the time of the deaths, were convicted of manslaughter in Greece and received 7-year sentences, according to Travel Weekly UK.

The hotel’s owner has already reached a settlement with the parents of the children that were killed, Sharon Wood and Neil Shepherd. But Wood told BBC News that she was blindsided by Cook’s action against the Louis hotel.

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-23504911

Wood said that she wasn’t aware that Cook had taken legal action against the hotel, and had she known she wouldn’t have accepted a settlement from the hotel that was less than the interim payment that the tour operator has just received, according to BBC News.

She noted that it had been a big financial burden to spend several years traveling to Greece for legal proceedings relating to the deaths of her children.

After the senseless deaths of three people, it looks like North Carolina will be passing legislation that would require hotels to put carbon monoxide detectors next to fuel-burning appliances, the Charlotte News & Observer reported Wednesday.

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/10/3022424/nc-bill-require-co-detectors-in.html

The proposal has been added to a bill that was approved by a House committee this week, and comes on the heels of the news that several people died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning at a Best Western in Boone, N.C.

On April 16 an elderly couple, Daryl and Shirley Mae Jenkins, died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a leak in a pool heater when they were staying at the Best Western. On June 8, 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams and his mother Jeannie stayed in the same room as the Jenkins, and they also suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning. Williams died, and his mother is still trying to recovery from her injuries.

The proposed legislation would mandate that hotels install carbon monoxide detectors “in every enclosed space with a fossil-fuel burning heater, appliance of fireplace — and in every hotel room that shares a common wall, floor or ceiling with such spaces,” the News & Observer wrote.

The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association helped draw up the proposal, which would direct the state’s Building Code Council to adopt the new rules regarding the carbon monoxide alarms. The body is set to meet in early September.

North Carolina is one of 27 states that mandate that new homes have carbon monoxide detectors, but it doesn’t require lodging facilities to have them, according to the News & Observer.

It was heartening to read that some national chains take it upon themselves to install carbon monoxide detectors in their hotels. La Quinta Inns & Suites puts them in every area where there’s a pool with gas-fired equipment, while Marriott requires CO alarms “wherever fuel-burning equipment is located within a hotel,” the News & Observer wrote.

 

You run a hotel where an elderly married couple died several months ago, and toxicology reports are still pending on their deaths. But carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected. Yet you rent out that same room where they died, and an 11-year-old dies there this weekend.

You can’t make this stuff up.

In Boone, N.C., Jeffrey Lee Williams of Rock Hill died Saturday at the local Best Western. He had been exposed to carbon monoxide, and an autopsy determined that he died of asphyxiation, according to WCNC. His mother Jeannie, 49, was hospitalized and woke up from a coma Sunday.

http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/Police-Couple-found-dead-in-Boone-hotel-also-exposed-to-carbon-monoxide-210892921.html

The Best Western was evacuated Saturday in the wake of Willis’s death.

Williams was found dead in the same room where the bodies of Daryl and Shirley Jenkins were discovered in April, according to WCNC. Toxicology results on the Jenkins were just released, and confirmed that they perished from carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to WCNC, the Best Western had been ordered to address a ventilation problem in an equipment room by a local inspector prior to all three deaths at the hotel. Officials wouldn’t comment on whether the violation had been fixed.

http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/Health-inspector-ordered-correction-to-ventilation-in-Boone-Best-Western-before-three-deaths-210891291.html

The room where everyone died is directly above an equipment room that had a natural gas heater for an enclosed indoor pool.

Dozens of guests at a hotel in Oshkosh, Wis., were evacuated Monday morning because of a carbon monoxide leak, according to The Oshkosh Northwestern.

http://www.thenorthwestern.com/article/20130513/OSH0101/305130299/Oshkosh-hotel-evacuated-after-carbon-monoxide-leak?nclick_check=1

Oshkosh firefighters responded to the Hilton Garden Inn on West 20th Avenue shortly before 5 a.m. after a carbon monoxide detector went off, the local newspaper reported. The first responders found high levels of carbon monoxide in the hotel using their testing meters.

Additional personnel were then sent to the hotel, with 19 firefighters and five ambulances called to the scene. The responders evacuated people from the hotel’s 41 occupied rooms, according to The Northwestern.

Guests were examined to determine if they had any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, and none did, the newspaper said. Firefighters ventilated the hotel.

The potentially lethal gas leaked from an area that housed the hotel’s mechanicals and laundry equipment, authorities discovered. Hilton had the proper repairs made and the Hilton Garden Inn reopened.

 

 

A Reno, Nev., hotel was evacuated Saturday after several guests got ill from carbon monoxide, according to KTVN-TV.

http://www.ktvn.com/story/22226084/elevated-carbon-monoxide-levels-prompt-evacuation-in-downtown-reno

The Reno Fire Department was called to the El Cortez Hotel after guests said they felt sick around 3:30 p.m., the TV station reported. The respondents detected high levels of carbon monoxide at the hotel, and evacuated it as well as the businesses on its first floor.

According to KTVN, the potentially lethal gas came from two malfunctioning water heaters. Although guests were allowed to return to the El Cortez, they didn’t have hot water overnight.

About 50 people were evacuated from a Holiday Inn Express in Maryland early Monday morning because of an apparent carbon monoxide leak, according to Patch.com.

http://elkridge.patch.com/articles/carbon-monoxide-levels-spike-at-elkridge-hotel

The hotel, located on Marshalee Drive in Elkridge, had high levels of carbon monoxide, according to responders from the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

Guests were evacuated from the hotel’s second and third floors at about 4 a.m.,Patch.com reported. No one had carbon monoxide poisoning.

Authorities suspect that the carbon monoxide leak came from a heater, Patch.com said.

In a far more dramatic incident, in June the Holiday Inn was evacuated when authorities discovered that guests has allegedly set up a methamphetamine lab in one of the hotel rooms, according to Patch.com.

A third lawsuit has been filed over a carbon monoxide leak at a Charleston, W.Va., hotel that killed one guest and injured other lodgers.

The newest suit was filed April 10 by Shirley and Tony Linn, who live in Patterson, La., according to The State Law Journal. The lawsuit charges that Shirley was permanently injured after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites.

http://www.statejournal.com/story/17514669/three-lawsuits-filed-in-south-charleston-carbon-monoxide-leak

There was also a suit filed earlier this month by Bain and Dawn Edmondson. That action alleges that Bain sustained personal injuries from the Jan. 30-31 carbon monoxide leak at the Holiday Inn.

The first lawsuit filed in the incident, lodged on March 14, was by Louise Moran. She is the widow of William Moran, who was killed at the hotel. He and Edmondson were sharing a room at the hotel in South Charleston. They were in town to do work on a hangar at Yeager Airport.

The three lawsuits name as defendants: Pikes Inc.; Holiday Inn Express Hotel; general manager Manisha Patel; Premier Pools and employees Steve and Karen Combs; Holiday Hospitality Franchising Inc.; Intercontinental Hotels Group Resources Inc.; and Intercontinental Hotel Group PLLC.

The lawsuits allege that Premier, while replacing the hotel’s pool heater, disconnected a vent pipe. Carbon monoxide then seeped from the pool area to hotel rooms, according to the suit.

Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites is facing a second lawsuit stemming from a carbon monoxide leak that killed one man and allegedly injured another in  South Charleston, W.Va., according to the Charleston Daily Mail.

http://www.dailymail.com/News/201204120100

Bain Edmondson, 49, was overcome by carbon monoxide and was found unresponsive in the hotel Jan. 31. He and his wife Dawn have filed suit against Holiday Inn Express. The suit charges that Edmondson suffered “neuronal cell death, cognitive impairment and pulmonary and cardiac damage,” according to the Daily Mail.

The Edmondsons are seeking compensatory and punitive damages from not only the hotel but a long list of companies.

The widow of the man, William Moran, who died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the hotel during the same incident is already suing. She filed a lawsuit in March, the local newspaper reported.

Moran and Edmondson were both working in Charleston for Rosciti Construction Group. They were sharing a room at the Holiday Inn Express when carbon monoxide leaked from a pool heater on the first floor into their fifth-floor room. The Daily Mail reported that Moran was pronounced dead at the scene, while Edmondson was taken to a local hospital to undergo treatment in a hyperbaric chamber.

Two workers at the hotel were also treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to the Daily Mail, the defendants named in the Edmondsons’ suit include: Pikes Inc., which  operated or  managed the South Charleston Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites; Holiday Hospitality Franchising Inc., the company that franchises Holiday Inn Express hotels; and InterContinental Hotels Group Resources Inc., which owns stock in the subsidiary companies.

The defendants, the local paper reported, also include: InterContinental Hotels Group Resources PLC; InterContinental Hotels Corp.;  Six Continents Hotels Inc.; and JP Mechanical Inc., a Charleston company that worked on the hotel pool heater.

The Edmondsons are also suing Premier Pools of Huntington, W.Va.,  its owner Karen Combs, and her husband Steve, who worked the hotel pool heater before the fatal carbon monoxide poisoning incident.

The couple also named Manisha Patel, the hotel general manager, as a defendant in its lawsuit, which was filed in Kanawha County Circuit Court.

 

In the second unfortunate case of this type I’ve seen recently, four guests — including two children — at the Hilton Garden Inn  in Green Bay were hospitalized for apparent carbon monoxide poisoning Friday, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.

http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20111231/GPG0101/111231024/4-taken-hospital-after-suspected-carbon-monoxide-leak-Lambeau-area-hotel

The incident happened at the hotel near Lambeau Field at 1015 Lombardi Ave. And this isn’t the first near-tragedy of its kind in Green Bay: I am currently handling a lawsuit that involves carbon monoxide poisoning of patrons at a Days Inn located in that city.  

In the case at the Hilton Garden Inn,  the two children who became sick were in the vicinity of the hotel’s swimming pool, according to the Press Gazette. Those poor kids were taken to the hospital by ambulance, while the  two adults who became ill from their exposure to carbon monoxide were transported by private cars.

Green Bay fire officials are blaming a heating system malfunction for the carbon monoxide leak. There were high levels of carbon monoxide not only in the room where the heating system was located, but in the pool area, as well.

Officials at the Hilton Garden Inn couldn’t be reached for comment by the Press Gazette. And maybe there’s a reason for that. The reporter would have asked them the same question that authorities, and I, would have asked: Does your hotel have carbon monoxide detectors? And if it does, why weren’t there any near the pool?

There are 25 states that require installation of carbon monoxide detectors in various kinds of residential and public buildings, including Wisconsin. And Wisconsin requires them in hotels.

Here is what the Wisconsin law mandates:

“Requires installation of carbon monoxide detectors in certain areas of residential buildings (defined as a tourist rooming hosue, a bed and breakfast, or any public building that is used for sleeping or lodging purposes).  Sets forth installation requirements, obligations and liabilities for owners of such residential buildings.” 

http://www.ncsl.org/?tabid=13238

If the Hilton Garden Inn had carbon monoxide detectors, why did four people get sick Friday night? And if the hotel had them, why were there none by the pool? Or did it have them, but they weren’t functioning properly?

And if the hotel didn’t have them, it would appear to be in violation of state law.

Either way, something went terribly wrong.