On April 16, 2013; Daryl and Shirley Jenkins of Longview, Washington died while staying at the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Plaza in Boone, North Carolina. Less than two months later, on June 8, 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams of Rock Hill, South Carolina was found dead in the same room where the Jenkinses stayed. Soon after Jeffrey died, it was confirmed that all three people died from ingesting lethal doses of carbon monoxide. It has since emerged that a month after the Jenkinses died, 10 girls attending a sleepover party were horribly sickened from symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning.
On June 17, it was confirmed that the source of the carbon monoxide leak was an improperly installed indoor pool heater located one floor below the room where Jeffrey and the Jenkinses died. It was also revealed that Appalachian Property Management, the company which manages the hotel and four others in the Boone area, had never gotten a permit to install the heater. Only a month before the Jenkinses died, a Watauga County health inspector found serious deficiencies in the heater that he said needed to be fixed immediately. Specifically, the heater's pump was not up to industry standards, and the chemical and equipment room was improperly ventilated. Evidently said fixes never occurred, because a state inspection after Jeffrey's death revealed the heater had been improperly installed.
Bailey has stated that while Appalachian Property Management will almost certainly be cited for violations, it will likely be allowed to reopen the Best Western after making required repairs. It is inconceivable that it is even remotely possible for this hotel to be allowed to ever open again under its current management given what has happened. Based on what is known, this company has demonstrated gross and borderline criminal disregard for the health and safety of its guests and employees. Any hotel operator that would allow a source of carbon monoxide to remain unrepaired for this long is a clear and present danger to the traveling public. For these reasons, the five hotels operated by Appalachian Property Management must be closed immediately, and not allowed to reopen under their present management. Furthermore, this company must never be allowed to operate hotels in the area again.
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