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WSAZ INVESTIGATES: Carbon Monoxide Safety in Hotels

By: Brooks Jarosz Email
By: Brooks Jarosz Email

UPDATE 4/29/13 @ 7 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It's been more than a year since a man died and more than a dozen others were sickened following a carbon monoxide leak at the Holiday Inn Express in South Charleston.

That deadly leak prompted change in law, and now all motels, hotels and apartment buildings are required to have carbon monoxide detectors.

In February, a WSAZ.com investigation put some hotel owners to the test, and not everyone was following the rules.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is colorless and odorless. Around all natural gas pipes, detectors are required. For your home, they cost roughly $30. In hotels, though, a system is required.

WSAZ.com set out to make sure hotels and motels are following the law.

In one hotel, tucked away down a hallway and past the laundry room, a new box was installed. It's an alarm system that activates when it sniffs the deadly gas.

"You know, these little extra steps help the guests feel safer," Assistant Fire Chief Virgil White said. "You know, you can't put a price on life."

But at the Microtel in South Charleston, that system has not always been there. It was installed in the last couple of months.

In February, our WSAZ.com investigation found the Microtel was not up to code. We found just two carbon monoxide detectors like what you would find in your home.

A new West Virginia law requires a system be tied into the fire alarm system with a battery backup.

We went back, and what we found was the hotel's owner and general manager took care of the problem.

"Oh, you know something's going on, it's very loud," General Manager Rosia Flack said. "It will wake you up, I can tell you that."

Assistant Fire Chief Virgil White tells WSAZ.com a system like the one at Microtel costs several thousand dollars. However, that investment has safety in mind to prevent deadly consequences seen in his city before.

"There will be no question -- they're on battery backup so if there's power failure it still will work," White said.

"You have to be really cautious," one hotel employee said. "About all of the guests."

We found it's not easy to tell if your hotel has a CO detection system. In many cases, the detectors are in back rooms. If you're wondering what is in place at a hotel you're visiting, your best option is to just ask.

All four hotels in South Charleston are now following the law and are in compliance.



UPDATE 1/31/13 @ 6:30 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A deadly case of carbon monoxide poisoning at a hotel in South Charleston has left a lasting impact, prompting a new law and a WSAZ investigation.

It was one year ago, when a carbon monoxide leak killed a man and made more than a dozen others sick at the Holiday Inn Express along Corridor G. No detectors were in the hotel.

A special task force was created to tackle the problem. It helped craft a law that made those detectors a requirement.

Since January 1, 2013, all hotels, nursing homes and rental properties like apartment buildings have been required to have carbon monoxide detectors or a system.

WSAZ.com investigated hotels and found not all of them are as safe as they should be. We asked South Charleston's Assistant Fire Chief Virgil White to take us to the Wingate Hotel. That's where about a month ago, there was also a carbon monoxide leak there.

"It could have been very dangerous," Assistant Chief Virgil White said. "There could have been injuries or death."

It was all after a contractor didn't properly seal pipes containing the gas, according to White.

"They just did shoddy work," White said.

WSAZ.com was not allowed inside the hotel, but found out that a new carbon monoxide detection system potentially saved lives. However, that was not the case when we asked to go inside the Microtel.

We uncovered violations, even though the owner and management team told us they thought they were compliant.

"The safety and welfare of my guests is my job," General Manager Rosia Fleck said.

Inside, we found just two detectors like the kind you would find in your home.

"Initially this was all that was required," White said.

The new law in West Virginia requires a carbon monoxide system be hardwired into the electrical system with a battery backup. In South Charleston, it's also required to be tied to the fire alarm system.

"Probably most people believe that everything everyone's taken and done their part but sometimes you don't have everything you need," Flack said.

Microtel was cited and given 30 days to fix and install a detection system. If not, the owner could face a fine of $250.

"We'll come back, reinspect and see if it's been done," White said. "If not we start the process of code violations."

There's really not a lot you can do before you check in to find out if a carbon monoxide system is in place; that's up to the inspectors.

WSAZ.com found three of the four hotels in South Charleston have the required system. We checked in Charleston where annual inspections are done. The fire department tells WSAZ.com the majority, if not all of them are complaint.

WSAZ.com is checking other cities like Nitro, St. Albans, Hurricane and Huntington and we will update you on what they're doing.

Rental properties will be the target of our next investigation airing Friday at 6 p.m. on WSAZ. We found not all landlords are vigilant about carbon monoxide detectors.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information on this investigation.



UPDATE 8/9/12 @ 6:15 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- More lawsuits have been filed in connection with a deadly carbon monoxide leak at a hotel in South Charleston.

One person died and dozens became ill at the hotel on Corridor G in January when carbon monoxide leaked into the building from a pool pump.

Late last month, five lawsuits seeking medical compensation were filed against the hotel, as well as the owners, some employees and two companies who worked on the pump.

A total of eight lawsuits have been filed.

The suits claim the hotel swimming pool heater was the problem and had been leaking carbon monoxide months before January.



UPDATE 2/21/12 @ 6:15 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The final report into a deadly carbon monoxide leak at the Holiday Inn Express in South Charleston has been released.

One hotel guest died Jan. 31, and more than a dozen others were taken to the hospital after the incident.

Investigators determined early on what caused the leak, but they didn't expect to learn it was more than a decade in the making.

The leak happened when a pipe broke apart from the pool's heating system. The report reveals that the problem started when the hotel was built 11 years ago.

“It (the pipe) is double-walled, so it's twice as thick as what the normal pipe would be,” South Charleston Fire Captain Virgil White said. “So, it's real hard to compromise or manipulate it unless you have tools or things like that.”

That appears to be what happened. Pictures of the pipe show it had been bent to help connect it to the outside vent.

“Everything was fine when it was connected as long as the pipe wasn't moved or compromised,” White said.

However, years of vibration from the filter and heating systems, along with recent work to the heating system, caused the pipe to come loose and CO to escape into the building.

One of the worst areas was Room 511. That's where William Moran died.

Two hours later, CO levels in his room were still about 209 ppm. That’s nearly 200 above the safe limit.

In the area where the leak happened, the level was above 1,200. Investigators say a single breath could kill you.

“I'm more thankful than surprised that it wasn't worse than what it was,” White said.

As WSAZ.com previously reported, this whole thing could have been prevented.

One of the companies that worked on the heating system, Premier Pools, did not have a license to do so.

Therefore, the city was never notified, and nobody knew to inspect that work.

The Holiday Inn Express is not allowed to comment. Sources tell WSAZ.com that the hotel has spent $17,000 in carbon monoxide detectors to make the building safer.



UPDATE 2/21/12 @ 11:20 a.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The final report into the deadly carbon monoxide leak at a local hotel has been released.

During the leak at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites, one man died while 16 others went to the hospital. It happened Jan. 31.

The final report is dozens of pages and includes multiple photos of the pipe that caused the leak in the room where William Moran from Rhode Island died.

According to the final report, a pipe that had broken apart from the pool's heating system caused the leak. The report reveals new information that the problem actually started more than a decade ago when the hotel was built.

Pictures included in the report show how the pipe had been scratched, bent and heavily damaged. Investigators say it just took this long for it to actually come apart.

They believe that vibrations from the system along with work done over the years helped pull the pipe loose, but they say that wouldn't have happened if something hadn't gone wrong years ago.

"Just the way the makeup of the pipe is; the material is double-walled, so it's twice as thick as what the normal pipe would be," Captain Virgil White from the South Charleston Fire Department said. "It's real hard to compromise or manipulate it unless you have tools or things like that."

The pipe was broken inside the wall on the fourth floor, right below the room where Moran was staying.



UPDATE 2/10/12 @ 9:30 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – South Charleston Fire Capt. Virgil White says the department’s investigation into the deadly carbon monoxide leak has wrapped up, and a final report is expected next week.

During the leak at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites, one man died while 16 others went to the hospital. It happened Jan. 31.

White says around Dec. 16, the hotel had a company called JP Mechanical come in to check the pool heater.

It was clear it needed to be fixed, so the company recommended the hotel hire someone, White says.

The hotel contracted Premier Pools to do the work, which was completed Dec. 28, White says.

"Well, any time you do any type of installation, whatever person is doing the installation should be able to check out their finished product," he adds.

Premier's manager Steve Combs referred WSAZ.com to his attorney, Gary Pullin.

Pullin says Combs' work was done on the ground floor and did not lead to the leak, which happened on the upper floors.

He also points out the leak happened a month after Premier did its work.

Pullin says Combs “did what he was asked to do, did everything properly and did not find anything wrong when he did his work."

White says no one involved in the work, neither the hotel nor the contractor, received a building permit from the city, which would have led to the fire department double checking things.

Since the leak, the Holiday Inn has installed carbon monoxide detectors on every floor, including by all gas-fueled heaters, White says.

The fire department was at the hotel Friday to look at them.

"That's a dramatic improvement. It should make guests at the hotel feel safer," White says.

White says he expects a copy of the final report to be released late next week.



UPDATE 2/7/12 @ 6:15 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It has been one week since a deadly carbon monoxide leak at the Holiday Inn Express in South Charleston.

There are some unanswered questions as to when the leak actually started and who, if anybody, should have caught it.

Last Tuesday, investigators said a pipe that had broken off from the pool's new heating system sent deadly levels of carbon monoxide throughout the hotel.

That leak killed one man and sent more than a dozen others to the hospital.

Investigators say a couple of different companies had worked with that unit over the past few months.

They say the problem could have happened when the hotel had one company come in and look at the old heating unit. Investigators are still trying to track that company down.

They say it also may have happened when the new unit was installed by a different company.

“It's in our opinion that the last person that serviced the unit to get it back in service is the one that should be ultimately responsible,” South Charleston Fire Capt. Virgil White said.

Investigators say Premier Pools is the company that installed the new unit.

The owner, Steve Combs, tells WSAZ.com they were there to install a filter and the only reason they touched the heating system was to connect the two.

Meanwhile, an effort to prevent something like this from ever happening again is well under way.

A special task force made up of health and emergency officials met again Tuesday afternoon during the West Virginia Legislature's session.

Their goal is to make carbon monoxide detectors a requirement for certain public buildings.

Monday, the House introduced a bill that would require places like hotels, apartments and dorms to install detectors.

Task force members say they're pleased with the bill, but they're now pushing for lawmakers to include places like hospitals, long-term care facilities and even schools to be added to that list.

"Schools are often used as shelters. There are times, whether it's a natural or other disaster, where we will take shelter in schools, and we want to make sure that doesn't get missed,” Kanawha Charleston Health Department Director Dr. Rahul Gupta said.

The next step is to get a similar bill introduced in the Senate.



UPDATE 2/6/12 @ 10:45 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Changes could be coming in response to the tragedy at the Holiday Inn and Suites in South Charleston last week.

One man died and 16 other people went to the hospital because of a carbon monoxide leak.

Several lawmakers got behind a bill Monday to require carbon monoxide detectors -- not just at hotels but many other places.

Del. Tiffany Lawrence (D-Jefferson) is the lead sponsor of the bill, which would mandate CO detectors be in hotels, condominiums, apartment buildings, homes and cabins that are rented or leased, dormitories, and bed and breakfasts.

She saw firsthand the effects of the toxic gas when a college friend of hers was poisoned by carbon monoxide.

"Where we should have been proactive, we're simply being reactive at this point. But, there's really a deficit, I believe, in the law," Lawrence says.

Under current law, CO detectors are required in “any residential unit built after July 1, 1998, that has a fuel-burning cooking or heating source or which is connected to a building that has a fuel-burning heating or cooking source.”

Lawrence says her intention in sponsoring the bill is to require the detectors in new buildings. However, she expects there to be debate about requiring them in existing buildings, as well. In addition, she expects there to be discussion about mandating specific locations where the CO detectors should be required to go.

South Charleston Fire Capt. Virgil White responded to the deadly CO leak last week and soon found himself on a task force aimed at promoting new regulations.

"It's sad it always takes something drastic to make change and for people to realize the potential dangers of things," White says.

He says it’s important to have statewide regulations so the requirements will be consistent.

Some hotel managers have installed CO detectors on their own.

Since opening, the Hotel at Mardi Gras Casino & Resort has had the detectors near gas-fueled fireplaces and other spots.

"It is a nightmare for anybody, any business, or anything like that. And, it's such a simple solution to that," said hotel operations manager Jerry Anderson.

Some lawmakers say it’s a requirement that should have been in place long before this tragedy.

"We should have done this probably years ago. But, it's sort of like a coal mine. When a coal mine blows up, you don't know what's missing until people are dead," says Del. Nancy Guthrie (D-Kanawha), who is one of 10 delegates co-sponsoring the bill.

House Majority Leader Brent Boggs (D-Braxton) is also among the sponsors.



UPDATE 2/6/12 @ 7 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Several guests say they're still feeling the effects following a lethal carbon monoxide leak at a hotel in South Charleston.

One person died and more than a dozen others were put in the hospital after a carbon monoxide lead at the Holiday Inn Express in South Charleston last Tuesday.

Some construction workers were staying at the hotel and say they're still having headaches and even blurred vision.

One man says he's being admitted to the hospital after traces of CO were found in his blood.

Fellow workers tell WSAZ.com in an exclusive interview that they haven't felt right either.

"I feel just a consistent headache once I wake up," Michael Moore said. "We're all trained in dealing with explosives in these power plants that we travel to and the last thing you think of when you lay your head down at night is thinking of waking up or not waking up."

Workers were staying at that Holiday Inn Express and recall it being an uncomfortable night on the fifth floor.

"I laid there from 2:45 a.m. until 4 a.m. sweating, with the air conditioning on, fresh out of the shower," Michael Moore said.

Early in the morning Tuesday, guests on the fifth floor describe hearing a man pounding on the door next to them.

"I opened the door to see what was going on and apparently it was this guy's boss trying to wake him up for work," Kyle Ross said. "Apparently he was already dead at that point."

Ross and Moore were both hotel guests working at a construction site and had already left for work when they received a text alert from WSAZ.

"On his phone he's got the WSAZ app and it alerted that there was a South Charleston hotel shutting down," Moore said. "One found dead, one in critical condition."

Little did they know, they too had been victims of carbon monoxide poisoning.

"My roommate was actually throwing up a few times at work," Ross said. "So we thought maybe someone had the flu and we were all catching it."

Firefighters say carbon monoxide was seeping from a pipe connected to the hotel pool's heating system.

The workers headed to the hospital to get checked out for symptoms of CO poisoning.

Still sick, they say they're disappointed after the company they work for still had to pay for the rooms. Their boss has receipts showing they were charged.

"You know that's pretty much a slap in the face when you go through something that traumatic," Moore said.

Ross added, "I would have thought they would have comped the room at least."

Moore says he's pondering a lawsuit against the Holiday Inn.

"I'm keeping my options open -- definitely," Moore said. "We're talking days after I still have a headache, you know it's a concern."

No one at the hotel was available for comment.

The critically injured man, Bain Edmundson, was treated and released during the weekend. He is back home in Rhode Island. He had only been in the Charleston area one day, part of another construction team working at the National Guard base.

A special CO task force set up in Kanawha County will have its second meeting Tuesday afternoon to try and prevent a tragedy like this from happening ever again.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for continuous updates.



UPDATE 2/3/12 @ 7:40 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Major changes are being put in place to strongly recommend or even require hotels to put in carbon monoxide detectors to prevent another poisoning death.

A new task force met for the first time Friday morning to study where CO monitors need to be placed and how to enforce that commercials buildings have them.

One person died and more than a dozen others were taken to the hospital after a carbon monoxide leak at the Holiday Inn Express along Corridor G in South Charleston.

Since that incident, the city has proposed an ordinance that would require CO detectors in all hotel rooms.

Now, at the county level, this task force is focused on prevention and education.

"I think it can be required legally, but I think what's more important is how we protect the public in a manner that is both efficient, comprehensive and hopefully voluntary," Dr. Rahul Gupta with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department said. "It's very important that people understand this is the right thing to do."

The group made up of fire department leaders, the health department and emergency services directors are trying to be proactive, rather than reactive.

"I think legislation will not fix the problem completely, but it will help the problem," Kanawha County Fire Coordinator C.W. Sigman said. "There's a state code right now that says you have to have a smoke alarm in every one- or two-family dwelling, but it's not enforced."

The group admits getting carbon monoxide detectors in hotel, homes and other buildings won't happen overnight, but they're planning on speeding up that process.

They say the first major step is awareness. Officials plan on drawing up flyers and other materials to get the message out about the dangerous of carbon monoxide.

"The way you're going to address the problem, most importantly, and the only way we see that we can make an impact is put some public information and educational material together," Charleston Fire Capt. Ken Tyree said. "People need to be mindful of their own safety and personal responsibility and ultimately work together to ensure people's safety."

The task force members agree it would become confusing if municipalities or even counties started passing different ordinances on CO monitors. Instead, they want a statewide law.

Intercontinental Hotels Group, which owns the Holiday Inn Express brand, says it already had plans in place to require CO monitoring even before this week's toxic tragedy.

The company tells WSAZ.com in a statement: "In 2011, we announced an update to our brand standards requiring all IHG hotels globally to install Carbon Monoxide detectors in rooms containing gas-fired equipment, and in any guest rooms adjacent to this equipment and its vent path by July 1, 2012. We developed this new standard in order to enhance the common level of Carbon Monoxide protection required by local regulations throughout the world."

Intercontinental Hotels Group does not own the Holiday Inn Express hotel in South Charleston. It is a franchised hotel that is independently owned and operated.

Currently, West Virginia law does not mandate hotels or other commercial buildings have CO monitors.

The task force wants to change that and require CO monitors for homes, schools, restaurants and other businesses.

Officials will meet next week to discuss how to move forward.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 2/1/12 @ 11:30 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- City officials are working on plans to prevent serious illness and even death after a carbon monoxide leak at a hotel killed one man and sent more than a dozen other guests to the hospital.

South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens tells WSAZ.com he's working with his legal team to draft an ordinance requiring all hotels in his city have CO detectors in every hotel room.

"I think it's important that we react and we react swiftly," Mayor Frank Mullens said. "It's a shame that sometimes it comes to this before these things come to light."

City officials are reacting to tragedy after investigators say the hotel didn't follow the rules. Mullens says the Holiday Inn Express did not file for building permits and didn't even have licensed contractors working at the hotel.

That hotel along Corridor G is back open after a carbon monoxide leak sent more than a dozen guests to the hospital and turned deadly for a guest sleeping in his room.

Firefighters say toxic levels of carbon monoxide were caused from a burst in a pipe connected to the pool's heat pump.

CO detectors are not required by West Virginia law but lawmakers could soon consider legislation to change that.

Mullens says he doesn't want to wait that long and is considering changes at the municipal level.

"I don't think the hospitality industry is going to bark at it at all," Mullen said. "First of all it's pretty inexpensive from what I understand and I'm sure they would much rather go through that expense than have something like this happen."

Mullens says a new ordinance could be on the books within a month. He plans on introducing it at an upcoming city council meeting.

"Put it in, put it in, I mean that's what we're going to do," Mullens said. "I've talked to my legal staff and we're looking into it as we speak."

Another South Charleston hotel is looking into making the investment now.

"We're always forward thinking," human resource manager Lesli Smith said. "So we've already started thinking about plans you know what can we do to make sure this doesn't happen at our hotel."

The Holiday Inn and Suites, formerly the Ramada, has gone by the book and gotten all permits issued to avoid any problems during renovations and construction.

"We do have pool heaters and they're being installed and they're per regulations," Smith said. "The state inspectors and the city inspectors are aware and have all the specs and have checked in with us."

WSAZ.com reached out to the hotel where the high CO levels were found, but no statements are being issued at this time.

The area where the leak happened was on the fourth floor. Firefighters say the CO levels were so high that one breath could kill you.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 2/1/12 @ 5 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Holiday Inn Express in South Charleston is back open after a carbon monoxide leak sent more than a dozen hotel guests to the hospital and left one man dead inside his room.

Firefighters found that a pipe broke off from the pool’s new heating system, causing CO to leak throughout the building.

WSAZ.com has learned that the system had never been inspected, and the leak may have been preventable.

There are a lot of rules hotels have to follow to make sure guests sleep soundly and wake up safely. One man never woke up when extremely high levels of carbon monoxide filled the hotel Tuesday morning.

“It's a problem. For one, nobody was notified the type of work that was being done. So there was no way for the city or the fire department to know that something's been modified,” South Charleston Fire Capt. Virgil White said.

When changes like this are made, the company is supposed to request a building permit from the city so that the fire department can inspect the work before and after it's complete.

Fire officials say there's no record that the hotel followed the rules.

“Had we been able to inspect the building knowing that the heating unit had been changed we could have inspected it,” White said. “We could have caught that something was wrong with that unit and had the proper corrections made.”

WSAZ.com reached out to the hotel owner for comment Wednesday, but no statements are being issued at this time.

The area where the leak happened was on the fourth floor. Firefighters say the CO levels were so high that one breath could kill you.

The man who died was staying in a room just above that leak.

A man found alive inside that same room is now recovering at St. Francis Hospital.

Anthony Rosciti, the co-owner of Rosciti Construction, spoke with WSAZ.com Wednesday.

"This is a tragic loss for our company and our family. Yes," Rosciti said.

Five of his men were affected by carbon monoxide leak at the Holiday Inn Express. William Moran was killed, while Bain Edmundson was left in critical condition.

"My superintendent had called me. He made me aware of the situation at the hotel. I went down to the hotel and found out exactly what had transpired," Rosciti said.

By Wednesday Edmundson had made great strides.

"Bain is breathing on his own. He's alert. He's up and in good spirits. It’s still not clear how long Bain is going to be in the hospital. I know he started rehabilitation today, so I guess until Sunday," Rosciti said.

In fact, the man Rosciti credits for saving Bain's life was once again by his side, but the circumstances a day later were vastly different.

"I wasn't there, but I know when Steve entered the room both men were unconscious. Billy Moran was not breathing. Steve tried to resuscitate Mr. Moran, and then he went to resuscitate Bain Edmundson. Bain was responsive and receptive to Steve's resuscitation," Rosciti said.

Looking forward, Rosciti says they company plans to set up foundations, even a scholarship for Mr. Moran's daughter. They're also showing love and support for Bain.

"Everybody was happy to see each other. You know, we're just happy to have Bain with us right now," Rosciti said.

Rosciti says he and the other workers plan to return to Charleston next week and finish the project at Yeager Airport.

Funeral arrangements for William Moran are set for early next week in Rhode Island.



UPDATE 2/1/12 @ 10:52 a.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ & AP) -- A man left in critical condition after a carbon monoxide leak at a South Charleston hotel has been transferred from CAMC General to St. Francis Hospital for further treatment.

South Charleston Police say Bain Edmundson was found seizing Tuesday on the fifth floor of the Holiday Inn Express after a gas pipe used to heat the hotel pool was found leaking carbon monoxide.

A spokesperson for Charleston General Hospital tells WSAZ.com Edmundson left the hospital Tuesday. WSAZ.com has now learned he has been transferred to the ICU at St. Francis Hospital.

Co-worker William Moran was found dead in the same room. Three other workers had to be taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

In total, 17 people staying at the hospital were taken to the hospital to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. Police believe they've all since been treated and released.

Meanwhile, South Charleston authorities are looking into how a pipe attached to a heating unit on a hotel's indoor pool came apart, allowing the deadly carbon monoxide fumes to escape.

Fire Capt. Virgil White says the pipe was supposed to remove exhaust from the natural gas unit and send it outdoors. White says the pipe somehow became detached near the hotel's fourth floor, sending the colorless, odorless gas through several floors.

He says the unit is being repaired Wednesday.

The hotel reopened to guests Tuesday night. White says another check of the hotel's air quality was conducted "to give everybody a piece of mind."

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/31/12
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Carbon monoxide poisoning most often hits home. That's why so many families make sure they have CO detectors installed.

However, if you look for those detectors in a hotel, you probably will not find them. By state law in West Virginia, they’re not required.

One man died Tuesday morning and 16 were taken to the hospital from extremely high carbon monoxide levels inside the Holiday Inn Express. Like most hotels, it does not have carbon monoxide detectors.

“It's something that's never really been focused on. The main look is for fires, the outbreak of fires. It's more common to have a fire in a hotel than it is to have a carbon monoxide leak,” South Charleston Fire Capt. Virgil White said.

Fire departments and the health department inspect hotels several times a year.

“A hotel can have up to three permits from the health department, but none of those would address carbon monoxide monitors,” Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, said.

Carbon monoxide may not have been cause for concern in the past, but firefighters say maybe it should have been.

“A lot of your hotels do have gas fed things like the dryers that they use. Some have pool areas, so the pumps and things for the pools are run by gas. The potential is there,” White said.

Now, both fire and health officials want things to change.

“I think they (CO detectors) ought to be required in hotels and other facilities,” Gupta said.

“I think it's something that they should seriously look into,” White said.

According to West Virginia state code, the only law concerning carbon monoxide detectors is from 1998.

It only includes residential units with fuel-burning heating or cooking sources inside.

That means many homes and no public buildings are required to have carbon monoxide detectors.



UPDATE 1/31/12 @ 10:30 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The name of a man killed after a serious carbon monoxide leak at a South Charleston hotel has been released.

Officials from Rosciti Construction tell WSAZ.com worker William Moran of Warwick, R.I., was killed Tuesday from carbon monoxide poisoning at the Holiday Inn Express. In total, five Rosciti workers were affected. Three of the five are being treated in hyperbaric chambers.

Rosciti Officials also tell WSAZ.com the men were working in Charleston on a government project at the National Guard at Yeager Airport.

South Charleston firefighters say the lethal carbon monoxide levels were due to a leaking gas pump that was used to heat the hotel pool. The pump was located on the ground floor, but the pipe went all the way up through the building.

Fire Capt. Virgil White says emergency crews measured CO levels at 1,200 parts per million at the source of the leak. "One breath from a level that high, and it'll kill you," he says.

In the rooms which were affected, White says the readings were anywhere from 300 parts per million to 600 parts per million, levels which are still deadly.

By late Tuesday night, CO levels had fallen to zero, according to the South Charleston Fire Department.

In total, 16 people have been taken in for medical attention.

Stick with WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/31/12 @ 3:50 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A deadly carbon monoxide leak is being blamed on a leaking gas pump that is used to heat the pool.

Firefighters tell WSAZ.com that the pump was located on the ground floor, but the pipe went all the way up through the building.

One person died from the leak and 16 others were taken in for medical attention.

The incident was reported about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Express off Corridor G in South Charleston.

According to firefighters, the leak was on the floor near the rooms where the man died.

As soon as the high levels of carbon monoxide were detected, the hotel was evacuated. About 10 to 15 people were inside the hotel at the time.

"I've felt nauseated, headaches, showing some symptoms. They had a test that we all registered to the suggested level that we need to go to the hospital," says Michael Moore, a guest at the hotel who was on a KRT bus preparing to go to the hospital.

A hazmat crew is still on the scene along with South Charleston Police and Fire Departments.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 1/31/12 @ 3:50 p.m.
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- One person has died and eight others have been reported hurt after high levels of carbon monoxide were detected at a hotel in South Charleston.

The incident was reported about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Holiday Inn Express off Corridor G in South Charleston.

The South Charleston Fire Department held a news conference at 1:30 p.m. to update the situation.

During the news conference, firefighters say they are concerned when CO levels are higher than 35. Investigators say they contained levels between 500 and 600 between the third and fifth floors of the hotel.

About 2:30 p.m., firefighters found an area of the hotel with a 1,200 CO level, according to investigators. Firefighters say one breath of this much CO could be lethal.

About 10 to 15 people were inside the hotel at the time. The hotel was evacuated as soon as the levels were detected.

Firefighters say one of the injured, a man found unresponsive in a room on the fifth floor, was taken to CAMC General where he is now listed in critical condition.

Two other victims were taken to St. Francis Hospital where they are currently in oxygen chambers.

At 2 p.m. a fourth person was taken to St. Francis Hospital when he felt sick. He was at Yeager Airport in Charleston trying to fly out when he became sick. This worker stayed on the fourth floor Monday night.

Then, about 3:30 p.m. four more people were taken to St. Francis Hospital with symptoms. No word on their conditions.

Firefighters say the rooms do not have carbon monoxide detectors. According to the Assistant Fire Chief, hotels are not required by law to have carbon monoxide detectors -- only smoke detectors.

Right now, crews have not released if they've found the source of the carbon monoxide.

At 3 p.m., firefighters say they turned off the gas to the building and the CO levels are starting to drop.

A hazmat crew is still on the scene along with South Charleston Police and Fire Departments.

Statement Released from Holiday Inn
"The Holiday Inn Express South Charleston holds the safety, comfort and well-being of its guests and employees as its top priority and concern. Our thoughts and prayers are with the guest’s family and friends during this time. The hotel will continue to cooperate fully with local authorities in their investigation. All further questions should be directed to the South Charleston Police Department."

We have a crew at the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 1/31/12
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The Holiday Inn Express along Corridor G in South Charleston has been evacuated after carbon monoxide was detected inside the building.

The incident was reported about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Kanawha County 911 Dispatchers tell WSAZ.com a man was found dead in the hotel and three others taken to the hospital. One man was seriously injured. The other two victims were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

A South Charleston Firefighter tells WSAZ.com the two men were found on the 5th floor of the hotel.

Firefighters say there were extremely high levels of carbon monoxide found on several floors of the hotel.

About 10 to 15 people were inside the hotel at the time of the evacuation.

Firefighters say the room where the two men were staying did not have a carbon monoxide detector. According to the Assistant Fire Chief, hotels are not required by law to have carbon monoxide detectors, only smoke detectors.

Right now, crews are still trying to find the source of the carbon monoxide.

A hazmat crew is on the scene along with South Charleston Police and Fire Departments.

The South Charleston Fire Department has scheduled a news conference at 1:30 p.m.

WSAZ.com has contacted Holiday Inn. A statement has not been released yet.

We have a crew at the scene. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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