Austintown, OH – Emergency crews evacuated an Austintown hotel Friday night after several people became ill due to high levels of carbon monoxide..
Eighteen people staying at the Sleep Inn were taken to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning.
There are no carbon monoxide detectors in the hotel. The fire chief says it was medics who first discovered the problem.
“We got called for an EMS call in the pool area for a child who had fallen. We carry carbon monoxide testers on our EMS bags. As our EMS crews came in to tend to the child the alarms started going off on our EMS bags,” said Austintown Fire Chief Andy Frost.
Fire officials believe the the hotel pool heater had been pumping dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide into the building. One level read close to 600 parts per million (ppm), a level much higher than the OSHA standard of 50 ppm.
“We were just sitting in the room and I heard kids start complaining they were feeling sick. They were going in their rooms on the second floor all hunched over and next thing I know there were a bunch of fire trucks pulling up,” said Damon Meek who was staying at the Sleep Inn.
Those who were evacuated say the hotel was filled with people in town for the state wrestling championship, and several wrestlers were among those hospitalized.
The chief says with the number of people inside, the biggest struggle was getting everyone out.
“We set the fire alarms off and people just ignored them and it’s just become such a problem for us. If you hear fire alarms you gotta get out there’s a reason,” said Frost.
With high levels of the gas in the upper levels of the hotel and the pool area, The Sleep Inn made other sleeping arrangements for guests.
With the gas problem under control, many say the focus is turning to Saturday’s state wrestling championship, with several athletes in the hospital.