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Carbon monoxide levels questioned at Houston Lodge

By KTVA Alaska 10:19 PM February 14, 2014

Residents worry there may be carbon monoxide gas leaking at Houston Lodge.

HOUSTON – Carbon monoxide is called a silent killer because it’s nearly undetectable by human senses, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But residents at an extended-stay motel in the Mat-Su Valley say they know the dangerous gas is leaking into their homes because they’ve been suffering the side effects for months.

“The only goal we want is to sleep safe at night,” said Houston Lodge resident Elizabeth Rautenkranz. “I can pick up and leave and move, that would set us back quite a bit, but what happens every time I drive by and I know there’s more people being in here?”

Rautenkranz said the gas has been robbing her of and other tenants of the Houston Lodge of their health.

“All of January I was waking up with this sinus headache, my pup was puking every day since we’ve been here,” Rautenkranz said.

Other Houston Lodge tenants said dangerous fumes have robbed them of their home.

“We don’t know what we’re doing. We almost slept in a car right now,” said tenant Kurt Viert.

For the third time this week, the Houston Fire Department was called to the Houston Lodge on Friday to investigate tenants’ carbon monoxide concerns. EMS workers said they definitely smelled the odor of diesel but according to the report filed with the city of Houston, the Houston Fire Department didn’t find any dangerous CO levels when they checked.

A pediatrician’s diagnosis of carbon monoxide poisoning for Viert’s 17-month-old daughter Kailyn, however, legitimizes tenants’ concerns. Viert said he rushed his daughter to an area hospital after she displayed signs of CO poisoning.

Discharge papers show doctors diagnosed Kailyn with carbon monoxide poisoning on Thursday. Viert said he wasn’t surprised by the diagnosis, but was shocked to find out how high his daughter’s CO levels were.

“Her levels were at like 85 and 86,” Viert said. “That’s like an adult who smokes.”

No longer able to return to their Houston Lodge home, per doctor’s orders, the Vierts said they are left searching for a place safer to sleep in than their own beds.

Residents said they were told that the state fire marshall is better equipped to detect potentially dangerous chemicals in the air. Officials from the fire marshall’s office are expected to test the CO levels at the Houston Lodge between Tuesday and Thursday of next week.

The owner of the building said if there is a problem, she won’t hesitate to fix it.

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