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  1. #1
    OFK's Avatar
    OFK
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    Death By Monoxide

    :ring ring clue phone:


    THE KEYS
    Monoxide was cause of death at hotel
    The second-largest hotel in Key West will be closed for at least a month while investigators probe the carbon monoxide poisoning of a tourist.
    BY CAMMY CLARK
    cclark@MiamiHerald.com

    KEY WEST - With the death of a tourist staying at an upscale hotel being blamed on carbon monoxide poisoning, health officials on Friday questioned if the tragedy was preventable.

    And if so, who is responsible for not dealing with the problem that took the life of 26-year-old Thomas Lueders in Room 416?

    On Friday, investigators cited the fourth-floor boiler room at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort as the source of the deadly fumes.

    The boiler room was right next door to the room Thomas was sharing with his father, 53-year-old Richard Lueders.

    Only six days before Thomas Lueders' death, three guests staying in the same room fell sick. At first, it was thought they were suffering from food poisoning, but after medical personnel determined it was carbon monoxide poisoning, they were taken to Mariners Hospital in Tavernier for treatment.

    ''All we do is treat them,'' said Dennis Holstein, program director for the hyperbaric medicine and wound recovery center at Mariners. ``I just assumed somebody would follow up [on finding the source of the deadly fumes].''

    But apparently nobody did.

    Now Lueders' death has led city officials to shut down South Roosevelt Boulevard's 216-room hotel -- the second-largest in Key West -- for at least a month and during the city's busy tourist season.

    Key West City Manager Julio Avael said he understands the problems the temporary closure will cause to the area's tourist industry, but said: ``The safety of our residents and guests is paramount.''

    Late Friday afternoon the Key West fire and police departments took control of the resort, kicking out all employees. The front desk clerks, who had been relocating guests, were forced to work at a table outside the lobby.

    Nine state and local agencies are involved in the investigation, which has concluded that the boiler room, which houses two boilers and two water tanks to heat water for the entire facility, was the source of the deadly fumes. State law requires the boilers to be inspected every two years. However, state fire officials said they could find no record of an inspection.

    Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless toxic gas that kills 3,800 people annually in the United States.

    FIRE ALARM SOUNDED

    Just after noon Wednesday, a fire alarm on the fourth floor went off. Hotel personnel discovered the father and son unresponsive in their room.

    Thomas Lueders was pronounced dead at Lower Medical Keys Hospital. Richard Lueders suffered respiratory arrest but survived after being put on a ventilator and then receiving treatment in a hyperbaric chamber at a hospital in Fort Myers.

    While Richard Lueders recovers and makes funeral arrangements for his son, Key West officials have revoked the Doubletree resort's certificate of occupancy for at least a month and maybe longer while the investigation continues.

    The investigation also uncovered work being done at the hotel without the proper city permits, according to Det. Charles Toledo of the State Fire Marshal's Bureau of Fire, Arson and Explosive Investigations.

    In last week's incident, three guests, an Iowa couple and their 22-year-old son, were rushed to Mariners Hospital for treatment in a hyperbaric chamber. The three survived after two hours of treatment, said Holstein, the hyperbaric program director.

    Dr. Susana May, director of the Monroe County Health Department, said nobody contacted her agency about that incident, which could affect public health.

    She added: ``[Lueder's death] was preventable if the hotel had known it had a problem. But if three people are taken to the hospital, hotel management should want to know: how [did they get] sick at my hotel?''

    HOTEL, OFFICIALS TOLD

    Lower Keys Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Meylan Lowe-Watler said in a statement: ``With patient permission, a hospital representative did notify the Doubletree hotel of the potential carbon monoxide exposure. Police, rescue and fire personnel were also aware of the events.''

    The hotel's general manager, Steve Robbins, has not responded to frequent calls and visits from The Miami Herald. Robbins provided CPR to at least one of the Lueders before falling ill to the fumes himself. On Friday night, a Doubletree employee said Robbins could not be reached because he was meeting with lawyers.

    ''Why didn't they do something after the first leak?'' questioned Miami-based lawyer Ira Leesfield, who also has an office in Key West and has taken part in cases involving hazardous gases.

    ''These folks came down as a father and son trip -- to have a good time,'' Leesfield said. ``Next, one is dead and one is injured. It's not an easy case to defend, and it's a tragedy.''

    Computers and files were being confiscated Friday, said Doubletree director of marketing Karen Thurman. The hotel opened in July 2000. Thurman said she could not estimate how much money the resort has lost and will lose. ``But the economic impact is far down the list of our overall concerns. I want to burst out crying.''


    http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/16348736.htm

  2. #2
    CelticCop's Avatar
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    So, these folks have not had their bi-annual inspection since they opened, AND were doing construction of some kind without the proper permits... They are Soooooooo screwed.

    Kinda sad really.
    "Where's your towel Arthur?" -Ford Prefect

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    I take delight in the juice of the barley,
    and courtin' pretty fair maids in the morning bright and early...


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  3. #3
    OFK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CelticCop View Post
    So, these folks have not had their bi-annual inspection since they opened, AND were doing construction of some kind without the proper permits... They are Soooooooo screwed.

    Kinda sad really.
    This quote alone is disturbing

    The hotel's general manager, Steve Robbins, has not responded to frequent calls and visits from The Miami Herald. Robbins provided CPR to at least one of the Lueders before falling ill to the fumes himself. On Friday night, a Doubletree employee said Robbins could not be reached because he was meeting with lawyers.
    It appears there is a plethora of negligence. This is a huge wake up call for existing problems. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

  4. #4
    CelticCop's Avatar
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    I see a MASSIVE settlement and some repairs and fines, but nothing else... Sad really... The chain makes so much money that this is unlikely to really hurt them. Corporate America at its finest.
    "Where's your towel Arthur?" -Ford Prefect

    "You! On your knees!" -Green Jello

    Some take delight in the carriages a rollin'
    and some take delight in the hurley and the bowlin',
    I take delight in the juice of the barley,
    and courtin' pretty fair maids in the morning bright and early...


    "You are, without a doubt, the worst pirate I've ever heard of..." Cmdre. Norrington "Ah, but you have heard of me." Capt. Jack Sparrow

    Warning my statements do not reflect the policies, procedures or views of my agency. As a matter of fact, they think I'm just as nuts as you do, so shove it and blow it out of your fart tube.

  5. #5
    Julia Guest
    Ahh the silent killer..Too bad..

 

 

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