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Westin BWI Hotel Under Heavy Criticism After High Carbon Monoxide Levels

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Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ) — Nine people hospitalized after being exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide at the Westin BWI Hotel are back home. Now the hotel is under heavy fire by lawmakers and attorneys.

Rochelle Ritchie has more.

The hotel is back open. WJZ was surprised to find that hotels built prior to 2008 are not mandated to have carbon monoxide detectors in the rooms. Now lawmakers are weighing in.

The BWI Westin Hotel is under stiff criticism after nine people were hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning.

“The customers in that hotel were totally unprotected from this tragic event, which could have caused tremendous loss of life,” said attorney Billy Murphy.

And brain damage, according to Murphy.

“Guests did not know they were being poisoned. Only a carbon monoxide detector would have alerted them to the poison,” said Murphy.

This is where lawmakers jump in, issuing emergency legislation that would require hotel rooms built prior to 2008 have carbon monoxide detectors–a mandate not currently in place.

“It’s really a public health issue and it could have been very, very tragic,” said Senator Joan Carter-Conway.

Sixty-four rooms at the Westin were evacuated as firefighters searched for the source of the leak.

In a statement to WJZ, the hotel’s director said, “We are very sorry for all those that have been impacted, especially those who were taken to local hospitals.”

The levels of carbon monoxide in the building was 700-800 parts per million, the highest in Maryland history.

“We would consider any reading above nine to be a potential hazard,” said Lt. Russ Davies.

Four of the employees at the Westin Hotel who were exposed to the dangerous levels of carbon monoxide were brought to Shock Trauma and placed inside a hyperbaric chamber. They were only in there for about 60 minutes before being released to the trauma center.

In their statement, the director goes on to say they’re “taking the necessary steps with management to make sure this never happens again.”

Twenty people in all were treated.

A faulty pipeline in the laundry room is blamed for the leak.

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