Report: Resort knew about toxic fumes

Published: Tuesday, January 2, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

KEY WEST — An upscale resort where a guest was exposed to a fatal dose of carbon monoxide had been told that another family at the hotel had been treated days earlier for the toxic fumes, a hospital official said.

Thomas Leuders, 26, and his father Richard, 53, were found unconscious in their fourth-floor room at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort from carbon monoxide poisoning Dec. 27. Thomas Leuders died at a nearby hospital, while his father survived emergency treatment.

An Iowa family that stayed in the same room was treated for exposure to the fumes six days earlier, Key West Fire Chief David Fraga said in a statement released Saturday.

The medical center where the family was treated "did notify the Doubletree hotel of the potential carbon monoxide exposure," Lower Keys Medical Center's chief operating officer, Meylan Lowe-Watler, said in a statement, according to The Miami Herald. "Police, rescue and fire personnel were also aware of the events," he said.

Fraga said his agency did not have enough information to suspect the problem was at the resort, the city's second-largest hotel. He said the Iowa family took part in activities that could have exposed them to carbon monoxide before they fell ill, including taking a boat ride.

"We never received any information indicating that there was a problem at the Grand Key," Fraga said. "Had that been the case we certainly would have followed up." Both Fraga and resort officials declined to comment on the investigation. A message seeking comment from the Lower Keys Medical Center was not immediately returned.

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 Friday.

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