One person was found dead and a dozen others were hospitalized after several guests were found unconscious around a hotel’s indoor pool in southern Michigan.
Authorities tell CNN they believe a carbon monoxide leak caused by a malfunctioning pool heater at the Quality Inn & Suites in Niles, Michigan, has killed one and sickened a dozen others, including children and several police officers.
Jessica Hines, a spokesperson for Lakeland Hospital in Niles told CNN that one other person was “confirmed dead on arrival,” while Niles police confirms 14 others were taken to area hospitals, including eight children to Memorial South Bend Hospital in Indiana.
According to NBC News affiliate, WNDU-TV, police responded to the hotel around 10 a.m. EST on April 1, and reported when they arrived that carbon monoxide levels at the hotel were 800 parts per million. CNN states that US standards for carbon monoxide are 35 parts per million for a one-hour exposure.
Niles Fire Department Captain Don Wise attributed the incident to a faulty pool heater.
“The ventilation system on the heater had issues, the exhaust was not functioning properly,” said Wise. “Our mechanical inspector verified that. The hotel is shut down now until repairs are made.”
Carbon monoxide is known as one of the most deadliest gases as it is odorless, colorless and tasteless. When too much is in the air, it can replace the oxygen in red blood cells and lead to tissue damage or death.
Choice Hotels, which owns the Quality brand, released a statement about the incident, saying it is “working closely with local officials to manage the situation. ... Our highest priority is always the safety and well-being of our guests.”