ITeam: Carbon Monoxide Detectors Not Required in PA Hotels

ITeam: Carbon Monoxide Detectors Not Required in PA Hotels

Officials say no working carbon monoxide detectors were found in a Lackawanna County hotel that was evacuated because of a gas leak Sunday morning.
Officials in the borough of Dunmore say a hotel will remain closed indefinitely after a carbon monoxide leak Sunday morning.

More than 200 people staying at the hotel were evacuated and nearly 30 sent to area hospitals.

On Monday, the Eyewitness News I-Team learned there were no working carbon monoxide detectors in the hotel.

That raised some questions about what is required under Pennsylvania law.

When you or your loved ones stay at a hotel, being concerned about a carbon monoxide detector is probably the furthest thing from your mind, but asking a few questions could save your life.

When asked if any carbon monoxide detectors were found in the Best Western Plus on Tigue Street, Dunmore borough manager Vito Ruggiero said, "together with our state fire marshal there was none noted."

Some people may be surprised to find out current Pennsylvania law does not mandate CO detectors in a hotel like the Best Western Plus.

Starting in June 2015, alarms must be installed in apartments in a multi-family dwelling, but still not hotels.

"It opens your eyes now to a different perspective when you walk in places," Ruggiero said.

The I-Team checked with other hotels in the Scranton-area, including the Radisson Hotel in downtown Scranton to see if they have carbon monoxide detectors.

The answer at the Radisson: yes.

"We do have carbon monoxide detectors anywhere heat sources are generated, gas entering the building, heat is generating, we get those tested regularly," Radisson General Manager Michael Kearney said.

Ironically, the detectors at the Radisson were scheduled for a routine test Monday morning.

General Manager Michael Kearney reacted to the fact that detectors aren't required in Pennsylvania.

"It may be surprising that it as a whole in the business. It's not Pennsylvania-related but as a whole in the business that it's not more to the fore-front," Kearney said.

Checks with managers at other hotels, including the Hilton Hotel in Scranton and the Microtel Hotel in Dickson city indicate they also have carbon monoxide detectors.

Dunmore officials say Sunday's scare was a wake-up call and they plan to implement even stricter regulations on hotels and facilities to make sure a tragedy never happens.

"Whether it's ordinances or resolutions, the borough is on board 100-percent to ensure the safety of all the residents that come here," Ruggiero said.

State Representative Kevin Haggerty, who currently represents Dunmore, says he plans to immediately introduce a bill to see that all Pennsylvania hotels and motels are required to have a working and monitored carbon monoxide system in place. Haggerty calls the current laws in Pennsylvania "lax."
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