LAKE DELTON (WITI) — On Saturday morning, June 15th, Lake Delton police and fire departments responded to the Travelodge Hotel located at 350 West Munroe Avenue in Lake Delton for a report of a carbon monoxide leak.
According to Lake Delton Fire Department, the cause of carbon monoxide leak was due to two heaters in the indoor pool area that had blocked heat exchangers.
The leak was discovered after an employee fell sick and was found to have high levels of carbon monoxide in their blood. The hotel air was tested and it was determined a high level of the toxin was present. All guests were evacuated from the hotel and, as of last Saturday morning, a total of nine people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Among those who experienced carbon monoxide poisoning include Doug Schuenemann, who was staying at the Travelodge for his first Father’s Day weekend. He was accompanied by his six-month-old son, Mason; his fiance, Angela; and Angela’s sister. They also received hospital treatment for poisoning and experienced signs of illness such as vomiting and headaches.
“Our vacation was drastically changed,” Schuenemann said.
At 1 a.m. on Saturday, June 15th, the fire department pounded on their door. Schuenemann feared for the health of his infant son.
“First thing you do is look at your son…is he okay?” Schuenemann recalled. “At that point, I started shaking his leg. He wouldn’t roll over or wake up right away. It took a bit of shaking.”
Of all the people who experienced poisoning at the hotel, Angela’s sister had the highest carbon monoxide levels. Schuenemann, frustrated by the hotel’s lack of compliance with local safety standards, believes this could have done major damage to his son’s development.
“If Mason, my son, had the same levels as her (Angela) sister did, he wouldn’t have made it simply because of the size of his body and the amount of blood he has circulating,” Doug Schuenemann said. “It’s very, very frustrating. I want answers as to why we weren’t told what was going on.”
Schuenemann – who recently was told by doctors that the carbon monoxide levels in their system were equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years – said he hopes to get a refund from the hotel. However, he has not yet heard from Travelodge.
Travelodge is currently closed and the situation is being investigated by fire officials. Travelodge’s parent company, the Wyndham Hotel Group, issued the following statement:
“The safety and well-being of guests and staff is of the utmost importance. As a hotel franchiser, we require that each independently owned and operated property comply with all local, state and federal laws,” the statement read.
Darren Jorgenson, of Lake Delton Fire Department, said Travelodge’s management purchased new and additional carbon monoxide detectors. He also said more detectors than what is required were placed around the hotel.