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.

An autopsy has determined that a Eau Claire, Wis., woman found in her home after a fire died of carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Leader-Telegram.

Cheryl Lechner, 47, was discovered in the basement of her house at East Hamilton Avenue when firefighters responded to the scene about 1:30 p.m. Monday. She couldn’t be resuscitated , the Leader-Telegram reported.

Authorities are still investigating Lechner’s death, with members of the local police department, the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms at the scene, according to the Leader-Telegram.

Apparently, police have ruled out a faulty furnace or water heater as the source of the lethal carbon monoxide.

A bird’s nest was almost lethal in a town in Wisconsin late last Thursday night.

Eight people in Dodgeville, Wis., were taken to a hospital after suffering carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Associated Press.

Police were called to the scene after someone was reportedly suffering a seizure, AP said. Authorities discovered that residents of the home, including five children, were showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Eight people were transported to Upland Hills Hospital, included the police officer who first arrived at the home, according to AP.

And here’s the kicker: A bird’s nest apparently was blocking an outside air intake, causing carbon monoxide levelt to rise in the house.



A man who was permanently disabled after suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning while in a recreational vehicle in Wisconsin has accepted a $2 million settlement, according to The Daily Telegram of Adrian, Mich.

The plaintiff, 60-year-old Larry Brenke of Riga, Mich., will be getting payments from four defendants in the case, which stems from a June 2009 incident. Brenke was rendered unconscious by the potentially lethal gas while in the RV during a trip to Wisconsin, The Daily Telegram reported.

Under the settlement, RV owner Allen Smith and Al Smith Concrete Construction of Blissfield agreed to pay Brenke $1 million, according to The Daily Telegram. Cobra Truck & Fabrication of Ottawa Lake, which built the RV, will also shell out $1 million.

In addition to them, the companies that did the inspection on the RV and put a carbon monoxide detector in it will pay $75,000 in settlement money, The Daily Telegram reported.

In the carbon monoxide incident, Brenke and another man went with Smith to a tractor-pulling contest in Tomah, Wis. But the trip went awry. The morning after the three men arrived in Wisconsin, Smith and Brenke were discovered unconscious in the RV, according to The Daily Telegram.

Brenke didn’t recover from the injury he suffered due to the carbon monoxide, and his wife Jane was named his guardian.

In April Brenke’s lawsuit went through a case evaluation, and a $2 million settlement was suggested, The Daily Telegram reported.

On top of the two $1 million awards, Walter Kidde Portable Equipment of North Carolina paid $50,000. It had distributed a carbon monoxide detector, made in China, that failed to go off in Smith’s RV. And T.R. Arnold & Associates, the Indiana company that inspected the RV, paid $25,000 in settlement money, according to The Daily Telegram.

The newspaper also reported that Cobra Truck & Fabrication made the RV using a trailer chassis, and then put a “gasoline-fueled electric generator under the living quarters without proper exhaust ventilation.”

Smith had put holes in the RV’s floor to install gear, and that’s how the carbon monoxide got into the RV.

A Chippewa Falls, Wis., woman died following a trailer home fire last week was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, according to a report released Wednesday by the local fire department.

The victim was Kathleen Lindsey, who apparently was overcome by carbon monoxide while trying to escape her burning trailer home at 3 a.m. last Friday, according to the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.

Lindsey was discovered unconscious at her trailer home in Indianhead Trailer Court, located in south Chippewa Falls. She was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chippewa Falls, and was pronounced dead there, the Leader-Telegram reported.

Unfortunately, there weren’t any smoke alarms in Lindsey’s trailer.

According to the fire department report, the fire started in the living room, possibly caused by a cigarette, while Lindsey was asleep in a bedroom, the Leader-Telegram reported.

The fire likely used up all the oxygen in the trailer before the smoke and heat got to the bedroom and woke up Lindsey, the fire department said. She woke up and left her bedroom, but apparently didn’t make it any farther than a hallway inside the trailer’s rear entry door.

An autopsy found that the carbon monoxide level in Lindsey’s blood was 77.9 percent, according to the Leader-Telegram. Levels higher than 30 percent are lethal. Authorities believe that the woman was rendered unconscious by the high level of carbon monoxide in her trailer, and never made it out the read door.

A leak  from a forklift Thursday led to 13 employees at Chippewa Bi Products in Wisconsin being sent to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to WQOW-TV. The incident took place at the rendering facility near Alma Center.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release that said it got a call asking that EMTs be dispatched to Chippewa Bi Products at 9:50 a.m. Thursday. The person who called said that at least one person had passed out, and no one knew why.

 Alma Center firefighters, and EMTs from Alma Center and Black River Falls, came to the scene. They determined that several employees have been overcome by carbon monoxide.

The sheriff’s office said that 10 people had to be taken to Black River Memorial Hospital,  but WQOW reported that 13 were transported there. According to the TV station, four victims were later transported to other hospitals for treatment, and nine were treated and released.

Propane forklifts were  being used in the Chippewa Bi Products building where the employees got ill, and authorities believe one of the forklifts had a mechanical problem and released the toxic carbon monoxide fumes.

In turn, Chippewa Bi Products said that it has carbon monoxide detectors, and that one did go off Thursday.

The plant did reopen after the incident Thursday, with the company saying it had retified the problem with the forklift.

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.

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.”

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.

Here’s why you need carbon monoxide detectors in your dwelling.

Nearly a dozen people in New London, Wis., were hospitalized and released Sunday for carbon monoxide poisoning after a leak of the deadly gas in their apartment building, according to The Post-Crescent of Appleton.|topnews|img|FRONTPAGE

New London firefighters evacuated the 16-unit apartment building at 505 Oakridge Lane, with at least 11 residents winding up in the hospital, according to The Post-Crescent. An ambulance arrived on on the scene around 6 a.m. in response to a call of four people feeling sick. The four all lived in the same apartment unit.

One teen-aged girl was found on her bed unconscious, but she was revived, the local newspaper reported.

Six people were transported to New London Family Medical Center; three to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton; and two to Riverside Medical Center, according to The Post-Crescent. But two of the residents first sent to New London had to be transferred to St. Elizabeth so they get treatment in a hyperbaric chamber.

A hot water heater in the apartment building’s basement had a broken exhaust pipe, and fire officials believe that was the source of the carbon monoxide leak.

One elderly resident of the apartment building told The Post-Crescent that it doesn’t have carbon monoxide detectors.

The city fire inspector and building inspector will be paying a visit to the building’s landlord Monday. Let’s hope that they recommend CO detectors.

Four family members, one found semi-conscious,  were hospitalized in Neenah, Wis., Tuesday for carbon monoxide poisoning. One of the family’s cats was killed by the lethal gas.|topnews|text|APC-News

The victims were exposed to the potentially lethal carbon monoxide gas in their home in the 200 block of Grant Street. The four, whose identities weren’t immediately known, were transported to Theda Clark Medical Center.

Three of the group displayed symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, while a woman, 36, was found semi-conscious.

The home didn’t have a working carbon monoxide detector, although the family had bought one but hadn’t installed it yet, according to local authorities.

That is in apparent violation of a Wisconsin law that took effect Feb. 1 and mandates that carbon monoxide detectors be installed in one- and two-family homes.

One of the family’s pet cats was killed due to carbon monoxide poisoning, while two other cats were taken to a Neenah veterinary hospital.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the high levels of carbon monoxide found in the home.

Carbon monoxide levels ranging from 800 to 2,000 parts per million were detected in the home by firefighters. Federal CO standards say that levels of up to 50 ppm are safe in the workplace.

Four people were hospitalized Monday following a carbon monoxide leak in a Green Bay,  Wis., apartment building, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.

After getting a call for help, firefighters came to the building on Shawano Avenue on Green Bay’s west side about 5 a.m. They smelled the odor of natural gas, and found a dangerous level of carbon monoxide in the apartment where the resident first called for help. A nearby apartment had lower levels of the dangerous gas.

Authorities evacuated the 10-unit apartment building, and residents where given shelter in a Green Bay Metro bus that was brought to the complex. The residents were allowed to return to their apartments at 7 a.m.

The four people who lived in the apartment that originally called to report the leak were all taken to St. Vincent Hospital.

Crews from Wisconsin Public Service Corp. came to the scene to take care of the gas leak.