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David Bernstein
David Bernstein
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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Hotels Should Never Happen

9 comments

On July 25, 2011, twelve (12) people staying at a Norman, Oklahoma hotel were taken to the hospital after breathing toxic levels of carbon monoxide (CO), which is is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death.

Firefighters arrived at the Sooner Legends Inn and Suites after a 3-year-old child became ill and was taken to the hospital. The firefighters detected carbon monoxide and evacuated the hotel.

Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey says the cause of the carbon monoxide was determined to be from a damaged, leaking ventilation pipe running from the boiler to the roof.

CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, and gas ranges and heating systems. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned by breathing it.

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. High levels of CO inhalation can cause loss of consciousness and death. Unless suspected, CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing symptoms.

It is critical thatall gas appliances must be vented so that CO will not build up. Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up. Horizontal vent pipes to fuel appliances should not be perfectly level. Indoor vent pipes should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors. This helps prevent CO or other gases from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.

It is unclear at this stage what caused the ventilation pipe to be damaged and whether the hotel knew about the damaged pipe and did nothing to properly repair it prior to the hotel guests being evacuated.

Safety of guests should always be a hotel’s first concern. The hotel and its insurer could be liable for large damages if the patrons were seriously injured or die. If it turns out the hotel was aware it had a damaged leaking ventilation pipe and did not take proper steps to look out for the safety of its guests, punitive damages might even be awarded to send a message to hotels around the country that hotels must put the safety of guests first.

9 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:
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    This was an accident. I know this hotel and management and it is clear they were not aware of a leaky pipe.

  2. Someone says:
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    I have been to this hotel they didn’t know about the leak so people need to stop making a big deal out of it

  3. Somebody says:
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    People need to stop making a big deal out of it especially news 9 I saw the news last night and like always a big deal they make out of stuff it was an accident I know all the people in the hotel and if they knew earlier they would have helped every single one of the guests at the hotel that is my opinion :)

  4. A relative says:
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    If you were one of the people taken to the hospital, you might think otherwise. More than likely the employees, other than maintenance or management, were not aware. There is a review posted on TripAdvisor that indicates over a year ago the same hotel had problems with their carbon monoxide alarms going off. Where were the alarms this time? Seems a bit odd.

  5. Someone says:
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    I have searched trip advisor and can’t find one review mentioning a previous co2 scare. That is simply not true and slanderous. When you are talking about something so serious, you should have your facts in order.

  6. A relative says:
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    My sincerest apologies! It was the Residence Inn in Norman. I do NOT intend to be slanderous at all, and I am glad that you set me straight that it was NOT the Sooners Legend Hotel. However, it still seems odd to me that the hotel does not have carbon monoxide alarms even though it is not required by law. Even personal home owners install them. My ultimate comment is THANK GOD FOR THE NURSE THAT TREATED THE 3-YEAR OLD! If it wasn’t for her, I might not have part of my family today. Carbon monoxide poisoning is serious!!

  7. A Regular Customer says:
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    Yes, thank God for the nurse. A tragedy was avoided by the quick thinking staff and nurse. Since I am a regular customer at the hotel, I have called and asked my own questions. It is not required by law or code for hotels in Oklahoma to install CO2 detectors. Sooner Legends has taken the lead and already installed 13 of them, with more being installed for guest peace of mind and safety. They are the only hotel in Norman, OK to have detectors. The owners are going to lead the charge and petition to get all hotels to have manditory detectors.

    So glad your family and everyone was saved.

  8. The Truth says:
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    Get real Somebody or Someone are you the owner of this dump. A real Norman “Save my friends Hotel” comment. If these people that were affected have any brains it will be a HUGH payday for them. Ventilation pipes don’t just get damaged, it’s not a piece of equipment in motion. I can’t wait til the investigation tells the real truth. This kind of thing should NEVER have happened. When I travel I look for the newest place not some Dump like the Legends.

  9. Kaycie says:
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    Furrealz? That’s mvrealously good to know.