No carbon monoxide detectors in hotel where people poisoned, says report deeming incident accidental
WINNIPEG -- The Office of the Fire Commissioner has released its report on a carbon monoxide poisoning incident earlier this year, deeming it accidental.
On July 9th, fire crews were called to the Super 8 motel at 3760 Portage Avenue, after the OFC said people had complained of illness.
The Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service responded and ended up sending 46 of the hotel’s 52 occupants to hospital as they displayed carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms. At least fifteen patients were considered to be in critical condition. All occupants survived the leak.
In the report, the OFC determined a hot water boiler in the hotel was venting improperly, causing combustion gases to be pulled back into the hotel’s air exchanger and circulated throughout the building.
It also determined the hotel did not have any carbon monoxide detectors in place.
“When this incident occurred in July there was no CO detection equipment on the premise,” said Municipal Relations Minister Rochelle Squires.
On July 24, Manitoba Workplace Safety and Health issued an order requiring monitoring for carbon monoxide in the workplace. That order was complied with and the employer installed seven carbon monoxide monitors in public areas and hallways and three carbon monoxide propane and natural gas detectors in areas where gas appliances are used.
MISUNDERSTANDING LED TO HOTELS PASSING INSPECTIONS WITHOUT CO DETECTORS
Hotels are inspected on a 36-month cycle and the hotel was last inspected in May 2018 by city fire officials. Records indicate the most recent inspection determined the hotel was ‘current’ with all requirements.
Minister Squires says there was a misunderstanding that hotels require CO detectors.
“Some confusion between the Winnipeg Fire Prevention Branch and the Office of the Fire Commissioner in regards to the regulation,” said Squires.
Squires also said following this incident the province discovered 25 percent of all hotels across Manitoba were not in compliance. She said all are now in compliance.
“Our government finds this very alarming when we read the report from the Office of the Fire Commissioner we were very concerned,” said Squires.
The findings of the report were shared with the City of Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Service, as inspections to ensure compliance with fire and building code provisions are a municipal responsibility.