by Madison V. Fisler
Sept. 20, 2013. Contractors, both licensed and unlicensed, could be facing legal action after the conclusion of the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors’ investigation into the case of the carbon monoxide-related deaths in room 225 of the Boone Best Western Hotel.
The investigation came after three people died and one hospitalized after staying in room 225. The deaths were later attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning from staying in the same room which was located above a equipment room housing the pool’s water heater.
When Daryl, 73, and Shirley Jenkins, 72, died together in room 225 on April 16, and later Jeffrey Williams, 11, in June in the same room, hotels in North Carolina were not required to have carbon monoxide detectors. The hotel reopened and began taking reservations again in July.
Dale Dawson, the director of the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors was unavailable for comment on Friday, however, told the Watauga Democrat, “The investigation’s complete, and now we’re in the state of giving the stuff to the (district) attorney. We’ve already talked to the attorney about our next steps.”
Andy Le Beau, Captain of Police Operations with Boone Police Department said that the police department was working with the Board of Examiners initially in the investigation during the testing phase, and at this point the Boone Police Department is working on their own part of the investigation. He also said that neither the department nor the DA office has received a report.
“We got some preliminary stuff quite some time ago,” LeBeau said. “They provided us with information about the pool heater but we don’t have any reports from them, and I don’t think the DA has received any either. The Chief of Police talked to the DA’s office. We don’t have a copy and they don’t have it. I don’t know what they’re talking about.”
District Attorney Jerry Wilson confirmed that he has not received a report from the Board of Examiners.
“We are not expecting any information from the State Board of Examiners, because those are civil and administrative matters,” said District Attorney Jerry Wilson.
“We will be working with the report from the Boone Police Department once they finish their investigation to see if there was any criminal activity.”
The investigation of the case by the Boone Police Department is still ongoing.
“My personal goal is to conclude the investigation this month,” Le Beau.
“This case has taken so many twists and turns and a big factor for us getting this done is the high rate of serious crime we have had, like the bomb threat and rape case last week. We only have so many resources and all of these things require detectives to be assigned to other cases.”