Each year, hotel and motel fires result in $76 million in property loss. While that statistic is shocking and is something that hotel owners and guests should be aware of, there is something else that anyone traveling should pay attention to in order to prevent the worst from happening: carbon monoxide.
Jeannie Williams was staying in a Best Western in Boone, North Carolina when she started to feel sick. Her 11-year-old son Jeffery had just showered and gotten in bed when it was Jeannie’s turn to wash up after a long day. She closed the bathroom door because she felt as though she was going to be sick. That’s when everything changed.
What the pair didn’t know was that carbon monoxide had been seeping into their room from a pool heater that was one floor below them. After Williams shut the door, she started to pass out and crawled onto the floor. She knew something was wrong and wanted to call 911 for help, but her phone was in the other room by the bed.
She told the Post and Courrier that she called out for her son.
“I reached for the door,” Williams said. “That’s the last thing I remember.”
Williams and her son were found in their hotel room the next day after her daughter hadn’t been picked up from camp. Williams had been unconscious for 14 hours at that point, while her son was found dead in his bed.
Since her son’s death, Williams has made it a point to focus on encouraging others to be aware of carbon monoxide.
“The main thing is to have a carbon monoxide alarm,” Williams said. “The sources can be from appliances to a car in an enclosed garage; clogged fireplaces, a clogged vent. Symptoms are similar to the flu.”
Williams started the Jeffery Lee Williams Foundation in honor of her son. The foundation’s goal is to spread awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning and to prevent any deaths in the future. Williams encourages anyone traveling to take a carbon monoxide detector with them into their lodging area.