Carbon Monoxide Just Begining of Problems for Budget Motel

Investigators found several problems at the Budget Motel after Thursday's death.

By: Meredith Hillgartner

LUBBOCK, TX-Normally a busy resident the Budget Motel on 34th street is now a ghost town, after a gas leak Thursday killed one man and left another woman in critical condtion.

“Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous gas,” Lubbock Fire Chief Rob Keinast said. “It’s colorless, odorless, tasteless. That is the main problem detecting it, you have no warnings from those senses that it is present.”

58 year old Harold Rutherford was found dead Thursday by police after he was exposed to carbon monoxide.

Police said the woman he shared the room with was gone most of the night, exposing her to less of the toxic gas.

She was taken to UMC in critical condition.

“It replaces the oxygen in your blood, which obviously the body needs to survive, and high concentrations can be fatal,” Keinast said.

 Keinast said investigators found high levels of carbon monoxide in Rutherford’s room and in other rooms.

That is just where the problems start.

Keinast said every room inspected had other code violations involving the gas fired appliances.

“There are no current regulations either on the hotel/motel side, residential side, new construction for carbon monoxide detectors, but they are definitely a good idea to have,” Keinast said.

Another problem at the Budget Motel, the investigators report shows the complex had no functioning smoke detectors, something that is required by law.

Calls to the owners of the Budget Motel were not answered.

The front desk workers said the motel will be closed indefinitely until officials can complete their investigation and the motel can make all necessary repairs.

The codes department did not have any previous cases against the Budget Motel. 

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