Traveling across country, many people in looking for overnight lodging, will often make their selection based on whether the hotel of their choice has a swimming pool. In evaluating the hazards related to using the hotel pool most people and most families turn their thoughts to potential drowning hazards. In the United States, some statistics show that nearly ten people die every day from drowning. Families on vacation are the most common victims of drowning accidents at hotels with young children most often the victims of drowning in pools or hot tubs. Where drowning deaths would appear as a foreseeable result of using a pool without adequate or any supervision, there are other dangers in using, or even being close to, the hotel pool.

Across the country, there were 28 incidents and 12 deaths from 2005 to 2018 due to “unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning” in hotels motels and resorts as a result of faulty natural gas swimming pool heaters, according to a 2019 article in Preventive Medicine Reports.

On February 1, 2022, NBC News reported that in Marysville, Ohio, a hotel pool heater was likely the source of carbon monoxide exposure in an incident that sent more than a dozen people to the hospital. Fourteen people, including at least 6 children, were hospitalized. Authorities zeroed in on a heater for the hotel’s indoor pool that they believe was the source of carbon monoxide. In fact, the Marysville Fire Department found life threatening levels of carbon monoxide in the pool area of the hotel.

Four days later, 2 people died at a Quality Inn Suites in La Grange, Kentucky that had to be evacuated because of high levels of carbon monoxide. The Louisville Courier journal reported that the incident was being investigated by the local fire department as a possible carbon monoxide leak. While the suspected carbon monoxide leak has not been specifically tied to the hotel’s indoor pool, it is a potential cause to be investigated.

Carbon monoxide is a product of incomplete combustion, which occurs because of an insufficient mixing of air and fuel during combustion. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous and life-threatening gas. A hotel pool that uses a combustion device (a flame) to heat the pool’s water, such as a natural gas heater, produces carbon monoxide gas. The production of carbon monoxide is not only foreseeable, but also expected. Inadequate ventilation can then result in the release of this poisonous gas in the habitable spaces of the hotel.

It is surprising that some hotels do not have adequate monitoring devices to detect the presence of carbon monoxide. As of 2021, only 14 states in the United States require the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in hotels and motels. Sadly, states like Kentucky and Colorado do not have this requirement. However, just because there is no state law requirement to install carbon monoxide detectors in every guest room, common area, or anywhere where combustion occurs, does not mean that the hotel can escape liability for the foreseeable injuries that result from carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you have suffered serious injury as a result of exposure to carbon monoxide and that exposure was the result of the negligence of a hotel operator you could be entitled to recover compensation for the injuries, pain and suffering, and lost wages related to the incident. If a loved one has died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning under those circumstances, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death action to recover damages.

You need an attorney who can evaluate the circumstances of the carbon monoxide incident, who can review all pertinent maintenance records and governmental reports, and who can assemble the appropriate expert opinions to prove the negligence of the hotel operator.

The attorneys at Pearson & Paris, P.S.C. have extensive experience representing injured victims and their families.

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