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Santa Cruz hotel guests suffer carbon monoxide poisoning in leak

Santa Cruz hotel guests suffer carbon monoxide poisoning in leak

SANTA CRUZ — A local hotel’s guests were rushed to an area hospital late Saturday night for treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities said.

Responding to a report of occupants in medical distress shortly after 11 p.m. at the Ocean Street business, Santa Cruz firefighters investigated what they quickly believed was a gas leak after encountering two individuals suffering acute carbon monoxide poisoning, according to a department release.

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With the help of gas monitoring equipment, firefighters discovered carbon monoxide had been leaking into an unoccupied hotel mechanical room and spreading to the building’s east wing. Firefighters woke up several hotel guests, evacuated 14 rooms and temporarily displaced 25 people. Varying levels of carbon monoxide were present in the affected rooms, according to the agency.

The leak’s source was traced to a faulty ventilation system attached to a bank of hot water heaters. Firefighters ventilated the affected areas before returning the building over to its owner.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless asphyxiant gas. The Santa Cruz Fire Department urged all residents to consider installing carbon monoxide detectors in their homes and to change the units’ batteries at least twice a year.