Virginia Beach hotel reopens after carbon monoxide leak

Posted at 12:33 PM, Feb 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-07 13:02:04-05

Virginia Beach, Va. – A Virginia Beach hotel is back to normal operating hours today, after 75 guests were evacuated on Wednesday due to high levels of carbon monoxide.

On February 6, 2013 at 10:10 p.m., Virginia Beach firefighters responded to the Home Wood Suites, located at 5733 Cleveland Street, after calls were received reporting an “unusual odor of gas”.

Officials say when firefighters arrived, they performed atmospheric monitoring and discovered high levels of carbon monoxide on several floors of the hotel.

Approximately 75 guests were evacuated from the building.

Hotel management found other hotel rooms at neighboring hotels for the displaced guests.

Firefighters discovered a faulty natural gas heater on the roof that heated the common areas of the hotel. The heater was isolated and placed out of service with a Red Tag. Power was secured to the affected unit until the necessary repairs can be made by a certified mechanic.

Firefighters stayed on the scene for over three hours, ventilating the hotel and monitoring carbon monoxide levels until they reached a safe level.

Carbon monoxide levels reached 50 parts per million, which is considered high and unsafe for long term exposure – but not high enough to cause immediate health concerns for short term exposure.

The hotel is now back in operation. The hotel did not have carbon monoxide detectors, which was not required by State Building Codes at the time the hotel was built. Several occupants were checked by EMS, but none were transported to the hospital.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, poisonous gas that is a byproduct of burned fossil fuels.

The only way carbon monoxide can be detected is by a carbon monoxide detector. Electric heat does not produce carbon monoxide. Early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning mimics flu-like symptoms; nausea, vomiting, headaches, and flushed skin.

More severe exposure will cause confusion, drowsiness, seizures, unconsciousness, and unresponsiveness and death.