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Carbon monoxide kills hotel guest in Pennsylvania

January 19, 2008|From the Associated Press

ALLENTOWN, PA. — Carbon monoxide fumes killed a hotel guest and sickened four others Friday after a construction canopy blocked venting from the building's water heaters, officials said.

Levels of the poisonous, odorless gas were so high that rescuers were forced to retreat until the Best Western Allentown Inn & Suites could be ventilated.

The dead hotel guest was identified by the coroner's office as Philip D. Prechtel, 63, of Hilton Head Island, S.C. Four guests who felt the effects of the gas were taken to a hospital, Berks-Lehigh Regional Police spokesman Pete Nickischer said. Five emergency workers were also taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Workers doing construction on the outside of the hotel had erected a plastic tent-like canopy near where fumes from the propane water heaters in the basement were vented, said Grant Grim, the Upper Macungie Township fire commissioner.

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