UPDATE: One of Two Hurricane Motels Reopens After Carbon Monoxide Threat

By: Brooks Jarosz, Anna Baxter Email
By: Brooks Jarosz, Anna Baxter Email

UPDATE @ 3/12/12 @ 9 a.m.
HURRICANE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Budget Inn in Hurricane is back open after being closed last week after a carbon monoxide threat. However the second motel, the American Inn, remains closed.

The motel's owner, Navnit Sangani, tells WSAZ.com Budget Inn reopened on Saturday.

Hurricane Fire Chief Frank Stover says during a routine inspection Wednesday morning at American Inn and Budget Inn, the inspector found improper gaps in some pipes located inside the building. The motels have single-wall pipes into triple-wall pipes, according to Stover. This poses a danger because the pipes aren't properly sealed and gas could leak out of them.

The motels are located along Hurricane Creek Road in Hurricane.

Sangani says crews have been working at both motels around the clock since the closures.

Sangani says once the repair work was finished on Friday, the State Fire Marshal inspected the building and found there was still an issue with a pipe at the Budget Inn. Sangani says he hired a crew to work through the night to fix that problem and the building was reinspected Saturday morning. Once he got the all clear, Sangani says he reopened his business Saturday night.

"It hurt my business, but we will survive," Sangani said.

Sangani says on a typical night he has at least 40 rooms booked at the Budget Inn in Hurricane. However, Sunday night he only had seven rooms occupied.

He says normally he has at least 15 to 20 rooms occupied by long term guests, but they're all gone at this time.

Crews are still working to fix the problems found with a pipe at the American Inn. Sangani hopes to have this motel back open by Wednesday or Thursday once it gets inspected by the State Fire Marshal.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 3/7/12 @ 8 p.m.
HURRICANE, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Two motels in Hurricane have been shut down due to a threat of carbon monoxide, according to emergency officials.

Hurricane Fire Chief Frank Stover tells WSAZ.com during a routine inspection Wednesday morning at American Inn and Budget Inn, the inspector found improper gaps in some pipes located inside the building. The motels have single-wall pipes into triple-wall pipes, according to Stover. This poses a danger because the pipes aren't properly sealed and gas could leak out of them.

The motels are located along Hurricane Creek Road in Hurricane.

Stover also tells WSAZ.com the inspector found wiring in the attic that was open.This is also a code violation.

When these violations were discovered, Stover said the buildings were evacuated. At the time of the evacuation, 15 people were inside the buildings.

Several people who were staying at the motel tell WSAZ.com they woke up to a knock at the door about 10 a.m. to tell them the building was being shut down and they needed to leave.

"We did not want to take a chance on having the same thing happen to our area that has happened to South Charleston," Chief Frank Stover with the Hurricane Volunteer Fire Department said. "Thank goodness, no one here had to get hurt because not only did we have the gas caps that were improper, but we also have a lot of electrical problems in the attic."

Anyone staying or working at the motels was checked out Wednesday by EMS to make sure they didn't need medical attention, according to the firefighters.

The people who we spoke with say they were tested for carbon monoxide poisoning, and their levels were at 13 to 15. Health experts are concerned when CO levels are higher than 30. However, we've been told by emergency officials many of the people who were tested are smokers and their levels would naturally be higher under normal conditions.

Several of the people who were staying there say they are worried because they don't have another place to go.

"It was kind of horrible. This is where we live," resident Julie Raines said. "We are waiting for someone to come and get us; we are pretty much out on the street right now. I just wouldn't recommend this place to nobody."

The fire department has contacted the State Fire Marshal's Office.

Stover says the motels will remain closed until the problems are fixed.

"It needed to be condemned; a lot of people can die," Raines said. "They should have never had it open to begin with. They should have shut it down a long time ago."

The owner of the motels, Navnit Sangani, tells WSAZ.com he's already working to fix the problems, and he didn't know the severity of the problems.

Sangani says he's operating a business and he wants it to be safe for the people who stay there. He says he hopes to have the problems fixed and the motels back open very soon.

According to the owner, 13 or 14 people were staying in the two buildings. Five people worked at the motels.

Sangani tells WSAZ.com if any of these people need a place to stay, they can stay at his home.

Mountaineer Gas and American Electric Power responded to the scene about 3 p.m. Wednesday and turned off the buildings' utilities.

As recent as January, a carbon monoxide leak at the Holiday Inn Express in South Charleston killed one man and made more than a dozen others sick.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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