Families sue Airbnb after 3 people die of carbon monoxide poisoning in rental
It happened on October 30. The old friends were on vacation.
NEW ORLEANS — The parents of three young adults plan to file a lawsuit against Airbnb, after their children died in one while on vacation.
Two of them were teachers in New Orleans.
It was Halloween weekend, and three friends who traveled together often decided to spend it celebrating Mexico’s Day of the Dead. So they rented an Airbnb in a high-rise apartment in Mexico City, but never returned home.
“We will never have the opportunity to talk, laugh or comfort our children,” said Jennifer Marshall, Jordan’s mother. “Their lives could have been saved by a $30 carbon monoxide detector.”
Parents of New Orleans teachers Jordan Marshall, 28, and Courtez Hall, 33, and parents of Virginia Beach entrepreneur Kandace Florence, 28, want change after their children died in a Airbnb in Mexico.
It happened on October 30. The old friends were on vacation. A carbon monoxide leak from the water heater in the short-term rental was the cause, according to the family.
“This should send shock waves through this country. Elected officials should step up to ask why it’s not required,” said families’ attorney Chris Stewart, of Stewart, Miller, Simmons Law Firm in Atlanta.
So, along with their attorneys, the families want Airbnb to require all of its seven million rentals worldwide to have working carbon monoxide detectors. They say there are already rules like no parties in rentals and the company knows this is an issue due to deaths and similar lawsuits in several other countries.
“A year ago, in Mexico, in Guadalajara, a young Californian woman, a UCLA graduate, was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning,” said Michael Haggard of the Florida-based law firm Haggard.
The goal of bereaved families is that no other parent suffers the same loss.
“He liked people. He loved his mother. He loved his family, loved his friends, would give you the shirt off his back. He liked to sing. He loved, he loved the church,” Ceola Hall, Courtez’s mother, said.
During the COVID pandemic, Kandace returned to her parents to save money and started a soy candle business with uplifting messages about them.
“She said, ‘OK, affirmations. I’m going to give people something, some kind of hope right now. Tragically, my baby isn’t here to share her affirmations anymore,'” Freida Florence said of her Kandace girl.
On Thursday, her mother offered her daughter’s creations to other mothers and left each her message.
“Hold on to your kids. Love them, because you can blink and they’re gone,” she said through tears.
On the website, he only suggests the use of carbon monoxide detectors for his ads. The list of the apartment where the three died has been deleted.
An Airbnb spokesperson told WWL-TV they have suspended the listing and canceled all future bookings at this location while they investigate. They have also been in contact with the US Embassy.
“This is a terrible tragedy, and our hearts go out to the families and loved ones who mourn such an unimaginable loss,” an Airbnb spokesperson said. “Our priority at this time is to support those affected as authorities investigate what happened, and we remain ready to respond to their requests as we can.
They also listed the following on CO exposure in rentals:
- While we are unable to confirm reports of possible CO exposure, we can convey the following regarding our work on this topic: Our global teams work every day to promote safe travel for our community. We operate a worldwide detector program, providing free combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to all eligible Hosts. To date, more than 200,000 hosts worldwide have ordered a detector through this program.
- In Mexico, Airbnb worked with Mexico City’s Global Risk Management and Civil Protection Secretariat to launch an information campaign for hosts to promote safety best practices. Additionally, we’ve introduced updates to our free global smoke and carbon monoxide detector program to speed up shipping for Hosts in Mexico.
- We encourage all hosts to confirm that they have installed a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, and homes that claim to have a detector are clearly marked, so that this information is visible to guests. Customers can also filter listings by homes that claim to have them. If a guest books a listing in which a host has not yet reported the presence of detectors, we flag this so they are aware and can take the necessary precautionary measures.
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