Teen dead, several others hospitalized after CO leak

Police identified the child killed as 13-year-old Bryan Watts of Niles

Crews respond to a carbon monoxide leak at the Quality Inn in Niles, MI (April 1, 2017/Courtesy: WNDU)


NILES, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Authorities say a carbon monoxide leak at a southwestern Michigan hotel has killed a 13-year-old and sickened about a dozen other people, including other children and several police officers.

WNDU-TV and WSBT-TV report that officials at Lakeland Hospital in Niles confirmed the child’s death. The Nile Police Department identified him as 13-year-old Bryan Watts.

Quality Inn & Suites employees called 911 at around 10 a.m. Saturday after seeing six unresponsive children on the pool deck. They ranged in age from 12 to 14, police said. Emergency responders started CPR on all the children and then rushed them to local hospitals.

While emergency responses were evacuating the building, a seventh child in a first-floor room was found to be not breathing. Officers soon got her to respond and she was able to walk outside to an ambulance. Police said she had just been in the pool area with the other children.

Police say a Niles officer and a Berrien County sheriff’s deputy were hospitalized for carbon monoxide overexposure. Both had been released by later Saturday evening. Two hotel employees were also hospitalized.

WNDU-TV said officials blamed the carbon monoxide leak on a malfunctioning pool heater.

Police say a high level of carbon monoxide was detected in the pool area — more than 800 parts per million — and lower levels were found in other parts of the hotel. Firefighters opened doors and used fans to ventilate the building.

The hotel, which had 24 rooms occupied, was shut down while authorities investigate and the broken heater is repaired.

WNDU-TV reports that there was no carbon monoxide detector in the pool area.

Choice Hotels, which owns Quality Inn, said in a statement that its thoughts were with the affected families, and that this “isolated incident” occurred at an independently-owned franchise.