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Teen's carbon monoxide death starts spring break on tragic note

Gas leak kills teen
Gas leak kills teen 01:57

NILES, Mich. -- When several young people decided to take one last dip in a hotel pool before checkout on Saturday, they had no way of knowing they would face a killer that cannot be seen -- or even smelled.

CBS News spoke to one of the victims in Niles, Michigan, who was one of the lucky ones who survived.

Carbon monoxide death at hotel 02:55

“I called my mom … I told her I was feeling dizzy,” Dion Looney said.

Dion spent the start of spring break mourning the loss of his friend 13-year-old Bryan Douglas Watts.

The morning after attending a party at the Quality Inn & Suites, Watts died from carbon monoxide poisoning after swimming at the indoor pool.

“I was like this is not true … everybody was texting me like Bryan died,” Dion said.

Dion Looney, 14, mourns the loss of his friend. CBS Evening News

He was among 14 people sickened by carbon monoxide Saturday.

A 911 call from the scene reported that approximately seven children in the pool area were unconscious.

Fire department Captain Don Wise said the pool heater had a faulty exhaust vent causing carbon monoxide to build up to fatal levels -- more than 800 parts per million. That’s nearly 100 times what the EPA considers normal.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Wise said.

Known as the silent killer, carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. Most fatalities happen in homes or cars.

At least 500 people are killed from carbon monoxide poisoning a year. A detector can range anywhere between $20 and $65.

Enclosed pools are common at hotels across the country.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 13 states require installation of carbon monoxide detectors in hotels and motels.

These are the 13 states that require installation of carbon monoxide detectors in hotels and motels. CBS Evening News

In Michigan, detectors are required in buildings constructed on or after Dec. 1, 2009.

Offering condolences, Choice Hotels, which owns Quality Inn, said in a statement:

“The hotel, which is an independently owned and operated franchise property, continues to fully cooperate with local authorities.”

Family and friends of Bryan Douglas Watts only wish the hotel had done more -- sooner.

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