When video aired on News4 of hotel guests leaving the Westin Hotel in ambulances with oxygen masks strapped to their faces, Daniel Alholm knew exactly what had gone wrong.
The attorney has sued hotels across the country after carbon monoxide leaks poisoned guests.
“If you have a gas burning appliance in an indoor area, it's going to create a perfect storm in terms of a carbon monoxide leak,” Alholm said.
Twelve people were sickened after a Westin spokeswoman said a faulty heater released carbon monoxide.
The News4 I-Team found hotels across the country where carbon monoxide poisoned guests, from North Carolina to Baltimore to just outside Chicago.
In fact, it happens so often that Alholm said he’s surprised that hotels don’t have carbon monoxide detectors on every floor.
But the News4 I-Team found in Nashville, they’re not required on every floor for a reason.
And that concerns Alholm.
“You have to make sure that if (heating systems) are not functioning properly, then there's some sort of device there to warn the public just in case some sort of tragedy occurs,” Alholm said.
As of 2016, Nashville adopted the state ordinance that every hotel must have a carbon monoxide detector within ten feet of each sleep room at every hotel that has a fossil fuel burning heater or appliance.
But at the Westin, the leak made people sick on the third and fourth floors, and when firefighters looked, there was no carbon monoxide detector on the third floor.
The reason: the third floor houses the gym and pool, but no rooms.
It is unclear if the faulty heating unit was housed on that floor.
But because no one was actually residing on that floor, a carbon monoxide detector wasn’t required.
Alholm said that’s concerning, given that in many cases, including in a 2012 lawsuit in Illinois, the children sicked by carbon monoxide in a hotel were swimming.
“A lot of times there are pools that are heated by gas. It's kind of a perfect storm for a carbon monoxide leak,” Alholm said.
Alhom suggests the next time you or your family swim at an indoor pool, make sure that they have a carbon monoxide detector.
The News4 I-Team repeatedly emailed questions to a Westin spokeswoman, asking if the floors below and above the faulty heating unit had carbon monoxide detectors, but her statement did not address any of our inquiries.