A poisonous gas – carbon monoxide (CO) – made the news recently after the authorities linked the gas to three deaths in a hotel in Boone, NC. CNN covered the story
, which was at first dubbed a “mountain mystery” when the cause of the three deaths was undetermined.
In this town where the old ways of the mist-shrouded North Carolina mountains still abide alongside massive multi-million-dollar developments, a booming tourism industry and a linchpin university complex at Appalachian State, the deaths in Room 225 at the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza hotel were indeed enough to get people talking.
Toxicology Tests Reveal Carbon Monoxide
The first victims were an elderly couple, who stayed in the hotel room in April. Their autopsy results were initially inconclusive. Then, on Saturday, June 8, an 11-year-old boy died after spending a night in the very same room.
Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford told reporters that shortly after noon on Saturday, when emergency personnel responded to the hotel to find 11-year-old Jeffrey Lee Williams dead and his mother, Jeannie Williams, 49, ill, "a presumptive test indicated elevated level of carbon monoxide in the room."
Crawford said after an autopsy on the boy's body, "preliminary indications are that he died from asphyxia." Other toxicology results were pending, he added.
Crawford went on: full-blown toxicology tests had concluded within the last 24 hours that the deaths of Daryl Dean Jenkins, 73, and Shirley Mae Jenkins, 72, from Washington state, in Room 225 in April were both due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
County Medical Examiner Resigns
Follow-up reporting from ABC News tells us that the medical examiner who did the initial autopsies has resigned in the wake of these three deaths. He had learned on June 1 that CO might be to blame for the death of the elderly lady in April, but failed to alert authorities until after the death of the young boy.
A toxicology report dated June 1 by the Office of the State Medical Examiner showed lethal levels of carbon monoxide in the blood of Shirley Mae Jenkins, 72.
… North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos called the three hotel deaths "a tragedy that should have never happened."
Avoiding Tragedy in Your Home
As Ms. Wos says above, these kinds of tragedies don’t have to happen – especially in your home. With today’s advanced alarm systems, you are empowered to make your home safe and secure. Here at FrontPoint, our blogs often focus on burglary prevention, but our comprehensive system doesn’t stop there. We call our security “whole-home protection” because we also cover you against dangerous elements in the environment, such as carbon monoxide, fire, smoke, flood, water leaks and burst pipes.
CO is a danger in many homes because it comes from common household appliances: your furnace, refrigerator, range, water heater, etc. Automobiles and gas-powered lawn mowers also produce fumes containing CO. If your home vents well and your appliances are working correctly, the CO will most likely be vented safely outside. But today's energy-efficient homes are often sealed tightly, trapping CO-polluted air. Therefore, adding a simple CO sensor to a FrontPoint alarm system is a very smart precaution.
Many security companies have not yet integrated environmental protection with their alarm systems. If they have, they charge you extra for it, every month. At FrontPoint, we don’t operate that way. Your safety is too important to us. Every FrontPoint monitoring plan protects against environmental hazards, including CO, for no extra fee. Our smart interactive features ensure that you’ll get an instant alert if CO is present in your home, regardless of where you are. With FrontPoint’s free mobile apps you’re always aware, so you can take immediate action to protect your home and family.