For the second time in as many months, Anne Arundel County paramedics were alerted to the presence of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide on the scene of a call by carbon monoxide detectors carried on their medical equipment. On Sunday February 16th just after 1:30 p.m., paramedics responded to the Westin Hotel, located at 1110 Old Elkridge Landing Road in North Linthicum to assist an employee who felt faint. While assessing and treating the patient, the paramedics were alerted to the possible presence of carbon monoxide by their CO alarm. They immediately requested additional assistance to the scene and began to evacuate the patient and others in the area.
Additional responding units checked other areas of the hotel and found excessive levels of carbon monoxide in various locations in the hotel. Some levels were in excess of 700 parts per million- levels capable of causing serious injury with just two hours of exposure. The seven story hotel was evacuated by firefighters going room to room on each floor to ensure all employees and guests had been evacuated.
A total of 20 guests and employees were evaluated by paramedics, resulting in the transport of nine people to the hospital. Four employees who worked in the area of the hotel’s laundry room were transported by paramedic unit to the Hyperbaric Chamber at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Five additional patients, four employees and one guest, were transported to local hospitals.
Firefighters shut down all utilities within the hotel that were capable of producing carbon monoxide and ventilated the building until carbon monoxide levels were at safe levels. The building was turned back over to building management at approximately 5:30.
This event is the second time in recent weeks that paramedics were alerted to high CO levels on a call by equipment carried with their medical equipment. On January 5th, paramedics responding to the Maryland City Wal Mart on an unrelated incident were also alerted to high carbon monoxide levels within the store. After the store was evacuated, the source was determined to be a malfunctioning HVAC system on the roof. There were no injuries in that incident.
Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide. In homes, CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.