By Jesse Wood
July 19, 2013. Todd Miller, building inspector with the Town of Boone, said Boone Planning and Inspections issued a certificate of occupancy Thursday afternoon for the Best Western Plus, where three people died in Room 225 from carbon monoxide, and that the hotel is clear to open to the public.
He added that the certificate came with the limitation that the pool area is off limits.
Paul Culpepper, an attorney representing hotel management and the owner, Appalachian Hospitality Management and AJD Investments, said Best Western in Boone is slated to open “probably Monday night or Tuesday night.”
While Miller said that he didn’t “personally” see carbon monoxide detectors installed during his last inspection on July 16, Culpepper said that “carbon monoxide detectors have been installed in the areas that my client understands is where the proposed legislation would require them.”
When the deaths occurred at Best Western, hotels in North Carolina were not required to have carbon monoxide detectors.
Nearly two weeks ago though, a measure that would require lodging establishments to install detectors in “every enclosed space with a fossil-fuel burning heater, appliance or fire place – and in every hotel room that shares a common wall, floor, ceiling with such spaces” was tucked into a House committee bill, according to the Charlotte Observer.
While the hotel is free to open to guests, building code violations from the Town of Boone may occur in the near future.
Miller said that the Best Western Plus did not have a permit for work performed on the pool’s water heater, which investigators said was the source of the carbon monoxide leak. Room 225 was directly above the room housing the pool’s water heater.
Miller said maintenance staff had taken the pool’s water heater from the Sleep Inn and installed it in the Best Western without permits.
“That could possibly be a violation,” Miller said, adding that his department is waiting to see what the Boone Police Department investigation reveals and how the District Attorney’s Office proceeds before itself proceeding.
Spokesmen for the Boone Police Department weren’t immediately available for comment on Friday morning, but the Boone Police Department has recently stated that the investigation is coming to a close soon and findings will then be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office.
It was reported by various news outlets, including the High Country Press, that the Best Western and four other hotels were on the market and listed for sale by Hotel Assets Group. Culpepper, on Friday morning, said that the contract for the listing agreement was signed by his client on April 5 – before the deaths – and had nothing to do with events that transpired.
For more background on the tragedies at Room 225, click here.