Family recovers from carbon monoxide poisoning - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Family recovers from carbon monoxide poisoning

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WATERTOWN (WKOW) -- A couple says its baby's carbon monoxide levels were the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years, after staying at a Lake Delton hotel Saturday.

"If Mason, my son, had the same levels as her sister did, he wouldn't have made it simply because of the size of his body and the amount of blood he has circulating," Douglas Schuenemann said doctors told him.

Schuenemann, his fiance Angela Reals, their 6-month-old son and Reals' sister were staying at the Travelodge on W. Munroe Ave. in Lake Delton. Schuenemann says they fell asleep about midnight, and then around 1:00 a.m. awoke to fire officials pounding on the door, evacuating the hotel because of a carbon monoxide leak.

"First thing you do is look at your son -- is he okay?" Schuenemann said.

"At that point, I started shaking his leg. He wouldn't roll over or wake up right away," Reals said.

Monday, fire officials say they located the cause of the carbon monoxide leak.

"We have determined the cause of the CO leak were two heaters in the indoor pool area that had blocked heat exchangers. The heating units weren't able to discharge the exhaust properly so the CO ended up leaking into the building," said Lake Delton Fire Chief Darren Jorgenson.

"It was all very surreal. If there's a fire, you panic. But at the time, we didn't see anything or feel anything," Schuenemann said.

He and his family did not feel ill until they went outside. Reals and her sister began vomiting, and Schuenemann's head began to hurt. Emergency medical services escorted the four to the hospital, where they received between two to four hours of oxygen treatments.

Schuenemann says he suspects the CO leak occurred earlier than 1:00 a.m., when his family was evacuated.

"When I look back, the doors were all propped open at 11:00 p.m., which looking back now seems strange. But at the time I didn't think anything of it," said Schuenemann, who says he has attempted to recover the money from their stay several times. However, he has not successfully reached Travelodge management.

Travelodge is closed for now as fire officials investigate. Representatives have not returned calls for comment.

However, Travelodge's parent company Wyndham Hotel Group issued this statement: "The safety and well-being of guests and staff is of the utmost importance.  As a hotel franchisor, we require that each independently owned and operated property comply with all local, state and federal laws." 

Lake Delton Fire officials are investigating what caused the heaters to malfunction.

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