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Suit: Faulty maintenance created hazards

Among the allegations in Monday’s lawsuit:

• From the time the hotel was built in 2000 to April 2013, when Daryl and Shirley Jenkins died, repairs and alterations resulted in openings to a protective fire wall that separated guest rooms from common areas.



• Chemicals such as chlorine were stored in the equipment room and over the years corroded the pipe that was designed to carry deadly carbon monoxide outdoors.



• In October 2011, hotel maintenance workers replaced a propane gas heater with a used heater but failed to make sure the venting system worked properly and did not install carbon monoxide detectors nearby. The workers were not licensed and did not obtain a permit.



• In February 2012, an employee of Independence Oil & LP/Gas converted the replacement heater from propane to natural gas, even though the manufacturer indicated the heater should not be converted.



• On April 13, Dale Thomas Winkler was called in to service the pool heating system because it wasn’t working. He turned the heater back on “despite numerous open, obvious and readily observable hazards.”



• Three days later, deadly gas escaped through the corroded pipe, through holes in the fire wall and into Room 225, killing Daryl and Shirley Jenkins.



The defendants

• Best Western International Inc.



• AJD Investments Inc., owner of the Best Western Blue Ridge Plaza Hotel.



• Appalachian Hospitality Management Inc., which managed the hotel.



• Damon Mallatere, president of the management company.



• Independence Oil & LP/Gas Inc., which was hired to convert the water heater.



• Thomas Daniel Miller, who worked as a contractor with Independence Oil & LP/Gas Inc.



• Dale Thomas Winkler of DJ’s Heating Services, who serviced the heater.



Leland: 704-358-5074

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