San Francisco Hotel Guests Sickened by Carbon Monoxide Exposure
On January 7, 2011, residents of the Marriott Hotel in San Francisco reported flu like symptoms from carbon monoxide exposure. The residents became ill after the odorless gas got into the ventilation system at the hotel. The San Francisco fire department is investigating the source of the gas leak, but feel it may have come from a nearby restaurant which recently had repairs done to its water heater.
Carbon monoxide, known as “CO” is an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas. Every year more than 150 people in the United States die as a result of non-fire related exposure to the deadly gas which can escape from incorrectly vented fuel burning appliances such as water heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, and stoves.
Hotel owners, like all business owners, have a legal obligation to keep their premises safe for their patrons. This means it must take all reasonably prudent steps to make sure unsafe conditions such as carbon monoxide do not threaten the safety of their patrons.
As a personal injury lawyer in the San Francisco area, I have personally handled cases against hotels where dangerous conditions led to serious personal injuries. I recall one personal injury case against the Kimco Hotel, in which their failure to properly maintain their chimney flue, cause a fire resulting in serious injuries to my clients.
As of January 1, 2011 I am pleased to see that the legislature has passed a law that requires all new building where people will be sleeping to be equipped with CO monitoring devices. For personal tips on CO safety, see the Consumer Product Safety Commissions publication “Protect your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.”
San Francisco Chronicle, Carbon monoxide sickens S.F. hotel guests, January 8, 2011