A wedding after-party at the Quality Inn in Huntington, Indiana did not go as planned Saturday night. A carbon monoxide leak caused at least 20 people to be sent to the hospital.
The bride, Dawn Ducey, and her family arrived at the hotel on Friday night. Her wedding was in the hotel’s party room at 4 p.m. on Saturday. At around 7 p.m., Ducey and her guests headed to the hotel’s indoor swimming pool to celebrate. Things turned around 9 p.m., when people in the pool room started getting sick, one-by-one very fast.
“I noticed there was something wrong when Mom told me a ton of people were already passed out and one of the people that worked here came here and told everyone to get out,” said Ducey’s 21-year-old daughter, Ceara Young.
Eventually, the local emergency medical services and fire department arrived and informed the wedding party that they were suffering with carbon monoxide exposure.
“It was like really scary,” Young said. “I didn’t know what was going on. I couldn’t smell anything. I didn’t even taste anything either.”
Those affected were treated with high flow oxygen that night at Parkview Huntington Hospital.
“We didn’t even get home until four in the morning and the only thing they’re offering us is two free nights,” Ducey said.
The Quality Inn’s management has said the pool’s water heater exhaust vent was not sending all the carbon monoxide outside as it was supposed to. The extension pipe between the indoor water heater and outdoor exhaust vent was rusted and had fallen apart.
Ducey and her family are staying at the hotel until Tuesday out of convenience. She is from out of town. She said she plans to sue the hotel.
“I’m angry,” she said. “I am very angry.”
Ducey said she and her family used the pool on Friday and everything was okay. She has since heard that a maintenance worker was working on the exhaust system during the day on Saturday, in the hours before her wedding party entered the pool room.
“I understand things happen,” she said. “Friday, there was no problem and here we are Saturday and everybody under the sun is in the E.R.”
Quality Inn hospital management has apologized to her.
“It was very bad that it happened,” said property manager Henry Patel. “We have to take it seriously. We will try to do whatever we have to do right quick. We will go through, seriously, maintenance things. We have to do it, check everything separately to make sure that this incident never happens.”
Patel said everything should be fixed by the end of the week.