POLK COUNTY, Fla. – The presence of carbon monoxide in rooms at a Lakeland hotel prompted an evacuation of the building on Sunday and led to the hospitalization of eight people, including four children, according to the Lakeland Fire Department.
A spokesperson for the City of Lakeland told News 6 that the gas was reported around 11 a.m. at the Sleep Inn & Suites on Lakeland Park Drive by someone who advised they felt lightheaded and smelled something unusual. Guests were allowed to reenter the hotel around 12:30 p.m., the spokesperson said.
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Polk County Fire Rescue responded to the hotel along with Lakeland crews and provided medical transport for the patients, according to LFD Battalion Chief Jim Craw.
“The business had a concern that several persons inside were having some difficulties, so they contacted 911,” Craw said. “We made contact with those patients (who) were triaged and looked at ... several of them were transported to the hospital.”
Craw said that the failure of a water heater in the hotel caused carbon monoxide to vent into people’s rooms.
“The cause of it was (that) one of the water heaters for the business had a mechanical failure and it was venting into the mechanical room itself which was then getting into the rooms of the residents,” Craw said.
Officials said the patients were taken to the hospital in stable condition.
According to Craw, carbon monoxide in high levels can become fatal, and there are early warning signs that a person potentially exposed to it should heed.
“They may get dizzy, lightheaded, a headache, those are some of the first symptoms that you start off with,” Craw said. “The potential was there for it to be a very serious incident.”
No other details were disclosed.
This is a developing story. Check back with News 6 for the latest updates.