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A town official says a piece of equipment that malfunctioned, leading to the carbon monoxide poisoning deaths of three people at a Boone hotel, was never inspected.
An 11-year-old boy and a couple in their 70s were all killed by CO toxicity while staying in Room 225 at the Best Western Hotel in Boone.
Eleven-year-old Jeffrey Williams, of Rock Hill, died last Saturday at the hotel. Daryl and Shirley Mae Jenkins were both killed by CO poisoning in April during a visit to Boone.
Last week, state and federal inspectors say they traced the source of the carbon monoxide leak to a pool water heater room directly under room 225. Fire investigators say the exhaust was being pulled back into the room from a wall mounted vent for the room's HVAC unit.
Investigators also said the ventilation system had several deficiencies as well as corrosion.
Bill Bailey, Planning director for the town of Boone said his staff has not been able to find any record of an inspection of the heater that leaked the carbon monoxide.
Bailey said when the hotel was built in 2000, there was a heater at the pool that was inspected, but the one in question doesn't appear to be the same unit. " It appears that is not the heater we approved so it is not permitted."
Bailey said having a different heater in place could make a huge difference since the exhaust system was designed for the original unit, not the one in place now. Bailey does not believe the current unit would pass inspection. "It doesn't appear to be up to code for that building."
Meanwhile, Boone officials are looking into the possibility of drawing up an ordinancve requiring carbon monoxide detectors in hotel rooms.
"It is something we would like to see," said Mayor Loretta Clawson.
The town is checking with the NC Council on Building Codes to see if the town has the power to make the changes to the code. One possibility is to require carbon monoxide detectors wherever smoke detectors are required.
According to the law, all new changes like this must be inspected by town officials.
"If we had inspected this one, we would not be standing here today," Bailey told WBTV.
WBTV has learned that the exhaust system for the pool heater was not compatible with the new system that Bailey believes was installed at the hotel.
Bailey says town officials are searching for records of the new heater, but if they don't find a record of the replacement the hotel could be cited.