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Culprit in Mystery NC Hotel Deaths: Carbon Monoxide

Hotel had been told to fix ventilation below deadly room
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2013 4:10 AM CDT
Updated Jun 11, 2013 5:56 AM CDT
NC Hotel Deaths Culprit: Carbon Monoxide
The hotel was lacking carbon monoxide alarms, which cost around $30 and can last for 7 years.   (Wikipedia/SineWave)

The cause of three deaths in the same North Carolina hotel room since April is no longer a mystery—but the bigger mystery now is how the third death was allowed to happen. Police have confirmed that carbon monoxide killed an elderly couple in Room 225 of the Best Western in Boone in April, and an 11-year-old boy over the weekend. The source of the poisonous gas has not been confirmed, but police say the room is directly above a room with a natural gas heater for the hotel pool, the Charlotte Observer reports.

In March this year, an inspection found that the pool's chemical and equipment room needed better ventilation. "This needs to be corrected ASAP," the county health inspector wrote. It's not clear why it took two months to complete blood tests on the couple who died in April. A police spokesman says the hotel did not have carbon monoxide alarms, which cost around $30 and are legally required in new homes in the state, but not in hotels. A local restaurateur speaking to CNN summed up the feelings of many in the town. "If you had this happen one time," she said, "why in hell didn't they do something about it?" (More hotel stories.)

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