Diagnostic confusion also appeared to have played a role in the Sandals case. The night before they were due to check out, two of the people who died, Robbie Phillips, 65, a travel consultant who was actually one of the best-selling Sandals, and her husband, Michael, 68, visited a medical facility complaining of nausea and vomiting. according to the local authorities. Donnis Chiarella, 65, who lived on the other side of the wall, also visited a clinic, her son told ABC News. All returned to their adjacent beachfront villas, where the Phillipses and Mrs Chiarella’s husband, Vincent, 64, became unresponsive the next morning, according to local authorities. Later that day, all three were pronounced dead. Mrs. Chiarella, who had to be hospitalized, was the only survivor.
A further complicating diagnosis is the fact that there is often no key clues before the invisible, odorless gas makes one too disoriented to take action, said Patrick Morrison, chief of field services for the International Association of Fire Fighters, the largest firefighters’ union. . firefighters and paramedics in the United States. He said his union is in favor of making detectors mandatory in all sleeping areas of the hotel for this reason.
“If you can’t get to the fresh air, it will overwhelm you,” said Mr. Morrison. “That’s why people die in their sleep.”
Mr. Markowski returned to his room, where at one point he remembers lying on the floor screaming.
Fuel and a bird’s nest
Carbon monoxide is released when a device burns a fuel such as gas, oil, propane, kerosene, wood or charcoal. The most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels are boilers and heaters used to heat pools and water for an entire wing, said Dr. Lindell K. Weaver, who specializes in carbon monoxide poisoning at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City. Gas dryers, fireplaces, portable gas-operated pool cleaning equipment, and portable generators are other sources of carbon monoxide leaks.
If these devices work properly – or, in the case of generators, if they are used outdoors in a safe location – they should not present a hazard. Carbon monoxide, in small amounts, will come out through the exhaust vent. Problems usually occur when the device is not working properly or the vent is blocked or broken. In the case of Mr. Markowski, fire reports identified a bird’s nest that clogged the vents in the room with the hot water tanks.
The gas can follow airflows through vents, small holes, and even a dry wall, sometimes moving far away from the original source of the leak. In this case, according to the fire service, the gas probably entered room 205 through holes and crevices in the floor.