Carbon Monoxide Leak Identified at Hixson Motel

Reported by: Alisha Searl
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Updated: 3/22/2013 6:32 pm
Faulty work by a technician fixing a broken water heater; that's what city officials say caused the carbon monoxide poisoning that put two housekeepers at the Hixson Holiday Inn Express in the hospital.

Bruce Garner, with the Chattanooga Fire Department, says, "He disconnected an exhaust pipe, and the other two water heaters that were functioning and working, simply sucked in the exhaust from the bad water heater. That was enough to bring in exhaust and carbon monoxide into the rest of the building."

We're told the housekeepers were in the basement of the Holiday Inn Express when they started to feel flu like symptoms.

The levels of poison they were exposed to could have even caused them to lose consciousness after a couple of hours.

That's according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Garner adds, "The higher it goes, the more quickly it causes severe health problems, up to and including death."

Building officials tell us the motel did not have carbon monoxide detectors.

Robert Brown, a resident, says, "Wherever there is any danger of carbon monoxide, it should be alarmed in some way, in various rooms, in the lobby, wherever it needs to be."

But as we found out, the motel didn't break any rules by not having the carbon monoxide detectors.

Building officials tell us as of January 2nd of this year, the detectors are only required for new motels or motels undergoing renovations.

Garner says, "Really everybody should have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes and businesses because you really just never know where the source might be."

For now, the water heater problem has been temporarily fixed, and it's business as usual inside.

However, a mechanical inspector is slated to re-inspect the vents next week.

No word on the condition of the employees affected or the status of the service worker who made the mistake.

The manager at the Hixson Holiday Inn Express did not want to comment on the situation.

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