15 treated for carbon monoxide at Ala. resort


HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Fire officials will continue air quality monitoring over the weekend as a safety precaution after 15 guests were treated for probable carbon monoxide poisoning at the Ross Bridge Golf Resort on Friday morning.

The Hoover Fire Department was called to the hotel about 6:30 a.m. when a guest was found unresponsive. When the medical technicians arrived, they found a young child that "exhibited altered mental status," reported fire department spokesman Rusty Lowe.

Suspecting carbon monoxide poisoning, fire department responders tested and found evaluated levels of the gas. Fifteen guests were affected and several were transported for further evaluation to Brookwood, Princeton Baptist, UAB and Children's of Alabama hospitals, according to Lowe. He also said that 12 emergency personnel responded.

Steve Miller, general manager of the Renaissance resort, said that a heating system that heated some of the resort's pools was vented through the hotel, which was built about eight years ago. There was a mechanical malfunction in a vent system, allowing a release of the deadly gas into the fifth and sixth floors. Until repairs are completed, that system has been "locked down and cannot be restarted by anyone but the fire marshal and the city building inspector," Miller explained.

Miller said the fire department recommended that eight rooms be left vacant until repairs are completed on the defective ventilation system. Guests have been relocated to other rooms. Guests who return to the hotel after medical treatments will be offered new rooms, Miller said.

One family of four that left the hotel yesterday for their home in Tarpon Springs, Fla. had complained of flu-like symptoms that could have been carbon monoxide sickness. Lowe said they were contacted so they could seek treatment.

"Fast action by employees of the hotel and by the responders saved lives today," Lowe said. "Carbon monoxide is known as the 'silent killer.' It is odorless and colorless. It can build up over time and sicken or kill a person who breathes it. It is very serious," Lowe said.

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