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Best Western Sued Over Couple’s Carbon Monoxide Deaths

The family of Daryl and Shirley Jenkins are suing the Best Western International for wrongful death. The elderly couple, who were in their early 70’s, died from carbon monoxide poisoning while staying in a hotel room that was on top of the equipment room for the indoor heated pool at the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza.

The plaintiffs contend that deficiencies in the exhaust ventilation system and the pool heater caused carbon monoxide to enter the Jenkins’ room. The rooms did not contain carbon monoxide detectors.

In November, a state regulator suspended the license of the contractor that switched the pool heater from propane to natural gas. This move purportedly went against the instructions of the manufacturer.

Les than two months after the Jenkins’ tragic deaths, Jeffrey Williams, 11, died in the same room, also from carbon monoxide poisoning. His mother, who also was poisoned, survived. Their family is expected to file a wrongful death case.

In the case filed by the couple’s family, the plaintiffs argued that the hotel should have known that carbon monoxide poisoning is a real threat. They claim that when the power venter on the pool heating system failed, maintenance workers purposely did not deal with a pressure-sensing safety switch so they wouldn’t have to fix or replace the venter. The venter was supposed to pull carbon monoxide from the building. The carbon monoxide then got out through corroded pipes, entered through holes in a protective firewall, and into the room where the Jenkins were staying.

Common causes of carbon monoxide poisoining:

• Lack of a carbon monoxide detection device • Malfunction or defect involving appliances fueled by gas or wood that produce carbon monoxide • Use of these devices in a closed space • Smoke inhalation during a fire • Incomplete combustion involving fuel burning devices, including furnaces, boilers, water and pool heaters, and motor vehicles.

With no smell or color, carbon monoxide is invisible to the eye but it can be deadly. Someone may not even know they are suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms may include dizziness, headache, vomiting, confusion, stomach upset, chest pain, and weakness, as if one were suffering from the flu. A person who develops carbon monoxide poisoning while asleep may never wake up.

According to a USA Today investigation in 2013, over a three-year period, at least 170 people were treated and eight died from carbon monoxide poisoning at hotels. There have also been incidents involving hotels whose guests were evacuated because of high levels of CO gas.

In Massachusetts, you should speak with an experienced Boston carbon monoxide poisoning lawyer to find out whether you have a case. Your initial case consultation is free. You don’t want to settle without speaking to an experienced Massachusetts premises liability law firm first.

Longview couple’s family sues N.C. motel over their carbon monoxide deaths, Oregon Live, February 10, 2015

Best Western lawsuit: Carbon monoxide deaths could have been prevented, Charlotte Observer, February 9, 2015

Hotel guests face carbon monoxide risk, USA Today, January 8, 2013

More Blog Posts:
Nantucket Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Incident Sends 11 Apartment Residents to the Hospital, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 16, 2011

Braintree, MA Train Accident Injures One, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 6, 2015

Johnson & Johnson Settles Four Transvaginal Mesh Cases
, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyer Blog, February 6, 2015