WV Hotel Had No Carbon Monoxide Detectors at Time of Gas Leak

WV Hotel Had No Carbon Monoxide Detectors at Time of Gas Leak

A Braxton County hotel is currently being investigated by the West Virginia State Fire Marshall’s office for a lack of required carbon monoxide detectors after guests began getting sick Sunday morning, and seven were taken to a local hospital by emergency services.

A MetroNews article posted on May 31, 2024 states that “No carbon monoxide detection of any kind was found” following an inspection on Friday. The facility installed temporary carbon monoxide detectors that afternoon and has been ordered to install a permanent solution connected to the hotel’s fire alarm system in the future.

Duty to Protect

Though a hotel’s legal duty to protect guests regarding carbon monoxide (CO) detectors varies depending on the jurisdiction, there’s a general expectation for hotels to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their guests from carbon monoxide poisoning.

This duty to protect typically includes installing and maintaining carbon monoxide detectors in guest rooms and other areas where guests may be present, such as hallways and common areas.

In many jurisdictions, there are specific regulations or building codes that mandate the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in hotels. These regulations may specify the type of detector, its placement, and maintenance requirements.

Hotels are typically required to comply with these regulations to ensure the safety of their guests.

West Virginia Law

West Virginia State Code §29-3-16a requires that “all common and sleeping areas directly below and above areas or rooms that contain permanently installed fuel-burning appliances and equipment that emit carbon monoxide as a byproduct of combustion located within all dwellings intended to be rented or leased, including hotels and motels” be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.

Failure to install or properly maintain carbon monoxide detectors could expose the hotel to legal liability if a guest suffers harm or injury from carbon monoxide poisoning. Hotels may be held liable for negligence if they fail to take reasonable steps to protect guests from known hazards, such as carbon monoxide exposure.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can vary depending on the level of exposure and individual factors, but common symptoms include:

  • Headache, dizziness, or lightheadedness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing (in severe cases)
  • Chest pain (particularly in individuals with pre-existing heart conditions)
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness, potentially leading to death if not treated promptly.

It’s important to note that carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can be similar to those of other illnesses, such as the flu or food poisoning.

However, if multiple people in the same location experience symptoms simultaneously or if symptoms improve when away from the source of exposure (such as a building with a faulty heating system), carbon monoxide poisoning should be considered as a possible cause, and immediate action should be taken to evacuate the area and seek medical attention.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, move directly to fresh air and call emergency services.

If you or a loved one suspect that you’ve experienced carbon monoxide poisoning due to the negligence of a hotel, motel, or other facility, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced premises liability lawyer immediately to help ensure that your rights are protected.

Our legal experts at Hendrickson & Long, PLLC are ready to help you seek justice and fair compensation.