Corpus Christi, TX – Just before noon on Tuesday, hazmat and Corpus Christi Fire Department teams responded to a carbon monoxide threat at the Omni Hotel in downtown Corpus Christi. Six employees were taken to a hospital as some areas of the hotel’s lower floors were evacuated when high carbon monoxide levels were detected in the basement, laundry room, kitchen area and some offices.
Several hotel staff began complaining of feeling lightheaded and nauseous just before noon prompting calls to the Fire Department. Hazmat teams joined CCFD on site where high levels of carbon monoxide were found on the hotel’s lower floors. Those floors were promptly evacuated and at least six employees were evacuated to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The hotel was promptly searched by response teams, who went to every floor to take readings for the gas. Smaller levels of gas were detected on some of the hotel’s higher floors, following the path of the elevator shafts.
“The gases tend to migrate with the elevators,” said Battalion Chief, David Saenz, “the elevator acts like a plunger, a suction, it will draw it from the lower floors and deposit it in the higher floors so we are getting some small readings, seven parts per million, which is very, very minor, it’s within normal limits in some of the floors but we weren’t compelled to evacuate the entire structure, we didn’t want to create any problems if we didn’t have to.”
After ruling the higher floors safe, hotel guests were not evacuated, as the gas had not extensively spread beyond the lower levels.
The cause of the leak was traced to a faulty pool water heater, according to officials. That heater has since been taken out of service.