1 dead after carbon monoxide poisoning at Budget Motel

Published: Jan. 16, 2014 at 6:47 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 17, 2014 at 7:22 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - One man is dead and a woman is hospitalized after police say they suffered carbon monoxide poisoning at a Lubbock motel.

Police responded to Room 30 of the Budget Motel off of 34th and the Interstate around noon on Thursday, where they found one man dead and a woman unconscious.

Officials tell us the deadly substance came from a leaking wall heater in the room.

Fire and police crews were called by the motel manager after the man and woman didn't check out as scheduled and wouldn't answer the door or respond to phone calls.

Lubbock Fire And Rescue Battalion Chief Rob Keinast said, "Crews arrived to find a 59-year-old male and adult female unresponsive. 59-year-old male pronounced dead on the scene. The adult female has been transported to UMC."

The deceased victim has been identified as Harold Rutherford.

On Friday, the Lubbock Fire Marshal's office ordered Atmos to shut off gas service to the motel.

Their investigation revealed:

  • High CO levels in the incident room.
  • Positive CO readings in other motel rooms and in other buildings in the complex.
  • No functioning smoke detectors as required by code and state law.
  • All rooms inspected had code violations involving the gas fired appliances.

The owners were instructed to close the business until repairs can be made by licensed contractors and inspections can be performed.

The motel did not have carbon monoxide detectors, but but the law in Texas does not require detectors of that kind.

Deputy Fire Marshal Robert Loveless says majority of the hotels and motels around Lubbock do not have them.

He says even though it isn't required in your home either, it is always a good idea to have them and check it monthly. Loveless says they're inexpensive, only about $35 to $40, and you can get them at any hardware store.

For extra reassurance while traveling, he says you can always buy one and bring it with you.

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