Key West, FL -Fire officials said an Iowa family was treated for carbon
monoxide exposure six days before the toxic fumes contributed to the death
of a 26-year-old tourist who stayed in the same room at the upscale resort.
But Key West Fire Chief David Fraga said his agency did not have enough
information to suspect the problem was at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort,
the city’s second largest hotel.
“We never received any information indicating that there was a problem at
the Grand Key,” Key West Fire Chief David Fraga said in at statement
released Saturday. “Had that been the case we certainly would have followed
Thomas Lueders, 26, and his father Richard, 53, both of Grosse Pointe Park,
Mich., were found unconscious in room 416 of the hotel. Thomas Lueders died
of carbon monoxide poisoning at a local hospital, authorities said. His
father survived emergency treatment.
An investigation found a boiler room next to the fourth floor room created
an “abnormally high level of carbon monoxide” in the room. Carbon monoxide
is odorless, colorless and tasteless.
Authorities shut down the 216-room resort on Friday.
Both Fraga and resort officials declined to comment on the investigation
The Iowa family also stayed in room 416. Emergency workers treated them on
Dec. 21 authorities said.
Rescue workers initially thought the family had food poisoning. But doctors
determined they were suffering from carbon monoxide exposure and sent them
to Mariners Hospital in Tavernier for treatment in a hyperbaric chamber.
Lower Keys Medical Center Chief Operating Officer Meylan Lowe-Watler said in
a statement the hospital “did notify the Doubletree hotel of the potential
carbon monoxide exposure. Police, rescue and fire personnel were also aware
of the events.”
But Fraga said the Iowa family rode in a boat and did other activities that
could have exposed them to carbon monoxide before they fell ill.
“If there had been any indication that the carbon monoxide gas had come from
the hotel, of course we would have responded immediately and investigated
the problem,” Fraga said in the statement. “I wish there had been so that
the horrible events of (last) week could somehow have been prevented.”