Fire officials in Michigan are blaming carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty pool heater for killing one teen and leaving six other youngsters lying unconscious around a hotel’s indoor pool, it was reported Sunday.
In addition to the six children, aged 12 to 14 years, two first responders who rescued them had to be taken to local hospitals, according to police in Niles, Michigan.
Bryan Douglas Watts, 13, of Niles was confirmed dead on arrival by a spokesperson for Lakeland Hospital in Niles.
Five children were found unconscious alongside Watts at the Quality Inn & Suites hotel pool. One child who had just left the pool area was found unresponsive in a first-floor room.
A Niles police officer and a Berrien County deputy were also treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.
According to Niles Fire Department Captain Don Wise, “The ventilation system on the heater had issues, the exhaust was not functioning properly. Our mechanical inspector verified that. The hotel is shut down now until repairs are made.”
When police arrived on the scene, the carbon monoxide levels at the hotel were 800 parts per million. The U.S. standard for carbon monoxide gas, which is odorless, colorless and tasteless, is 35 parts per million for one hour of exposure. Carbon monoxide is the result of fuel being burned, but if it builds up in the air, it can replace the oxygen in red blood cells, leading to tissue damage and even death.
Choice Hotels, which owns the Quality brand, stated that they are “working closely with local officials to manage the situation. … Our highest priority is always the safety and well-being of our guests.”
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