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Bob Carroll
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Chlorine Leak At Hotel Underscores Duty Of Management To Guests

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“I’m not a chemical engineer, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night.”

One Holiday Inn Express wishes it had hosted a chemical engineer on April 9,2004.

Jury awards $650,000 in chlorine leak case

A Mason County jury, in a 21-page verdict, on Thursday awarded nearly $650,000 total to five plaintiffs who said they suffered physical and mental damages after a chlorine leak at the Holiday Inn Express hotel on April 9, 2004.

Daryl, Jackson, Caleb, Savannah, and Melissa Bronkema sued Ferwerda Enterprises, the owner of the Holiday Inn Express on U.S. 10, alleging their negligence caused the leak.

Chlorine fumes caused breathing problems and forced the evacuation of the hotel’s guests after chlorine was mixed with muratic acid used for cleaning the pool’s pump. The toxic gas resulting from the mixture was confined to the pool area and caused respiratory problems for those exposed to it, the Daily News reported at the time.

The five people involved in the lawsuit accuse the company of “failing to exercise reasonable care” and of negligence in the maintenance of the pool and its equipment, the training of its employees, in failing to warn patrons of the dangers of toxic chemical exposure.

Innkeepers have an especially important duty to properly inspect and maintain their premises. Guests rely upon them to assure their safety and comfort. Because Florida is so popular as a tourist destination hundreds of thousands of tourists are sleeping each night in resorts, hotels, inns and other temporary locations in reliance upon the competence of the management and staff. Occasionally, this reliance is not warranted. In my experience, carelessness is rare, but the injuries can be permanent and disabling.