Investigation indicates source of elevated carbon monoxide levels in hotel room

Michael Bragg

Investigations continued Wednesday into the three deaths in room 225 of the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza with the help of additional agencies.

Town of Boone investigators were assisted by investigators from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the N.C. State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors and said based on preliminary results that the source of elevated carbon monoxide levels are from the pool water heater located directly below the hotel room, according to a press release from the Boone Police Department issued Wednesday.

The investigation showed the heater had several deficiencies and possible entries in the hotel room for the carbon monoxide included an opening underneath the gas fireplace unit and a wall mount heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit. The investigation is still ongoing.

“While many theories have been confirmed, the investigation must continue to ascertain definitive answers concerning this tragedy,” according to the press release.

Boone Police are asking that anyone who has stayed in room 225 to please contact the department at 268-6900 or email Sgt. Matt Stevens at matt.stevens@townofboone.net

The investigation began after 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams from Rock Hill, S.C., was found dead in room 225 of the Best Western on Saturday and his mother, 49-year-old Jeannie Williams, was taking to Watauga Medical Center. Less than two months earlier, Shirley Jenkins, 72, and Daryl Jenkins, 73, from Longview, Wash., were found dead in the same room and all three deaths have been connected to elevated carbon monoxide levels. 

Story: MICHAEL BRAGG, Editor-in-Chief