The families of American tourists who died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning while staying in an Airbnb in Mexico are warning those planning to travel during the busy holiday season about the potential dangers that could arise while vacationing abroad according to abcnews.go.com
The victims — Jordan Marshall and Courtez Hall, both schoolteachers from New Orleans, and Kandace Florence, a business owner in Virginia Beach, Virginia — were found dead in a Mexico City apartment they booked on Airbnb in October, according to the Attorney General’s Office of Mexico City.
The three friends had traveled to Mexico to celebrate Day of the Dead when Florence called her boyfriend and said she wasn’t feeling well, according to her family at a news conference on Thursday. Her mother described her daughter as dizzy and having wobbly legs.
Authorities said the victims were discovered after security guards at the apartment complex detected a strong gas odor. Blood tests later revealed that they died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
The mothers of the victims are now speaking out about the loss of their children in what their lawyers call a preventable tragedy.
Jennifer Marshall, the mother of Jordan Marshall, said the families are infuriated that their children “could have been saved by a $30 carbon monoxide detector.”
“It is unfortunate and it also infuriates us that we will never have the opportunity to talk to, laugh with or comfort our children,” she said.
Ceola Hall, Courtez Hall’s mother, said she does not want any parent to go through what she went through.
“You want to get as much detail from your children as you can when they are leaving, because you don’t never know that might be your last time seeing them,” Ceola Hall said.
Freida Florence, Kandace Florence’s mother, cried as she addressed reporters, saying that the holiday season was her daughter’s favorite time of year. She wants her daughter’s untimely death to have meaning, she said.
“She had a prophecy: ‘I’m going to change the world. I’m going to show people how to keep going in spite of controversy,'” Freida Florence said.
The families’ attorneys are now demanding that Airbnb require carbon monoxide detectors in all of its listings, calling the victims’ deaths “inexcusable.”
L. Chris Stewart, the family’s attorney, stated that what happened to Jordan Marshall, Courtez Hall, and Kandace Florence could happen to anyone, and that “more people are going to die if this is not fixed.”
“No one walks around with a smoke detector in one hand and a carbon monoxide detector in the other,” he explained. “We simply trust companies to do the right thing, and that did not occur.”
Attorney Michael Haggard advises those considering a short-term rental to instead book a reputable hotel or resort for their next vacation.
“We know that if you check, you stay in a Marriott, Hilton, wherever it is, they’re gonna have carbon monoxide detectors,” he said.
A failure in the apartment’s gas boiler released a gas smell as well as carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas, according to a spokesperson for Mexico’s attorney general’s office.
Investigators believe one of the victims, who was attempting to take a shower, may have activated the boiler.
Airbnb described the deaths as “a terrible tragedy” in an October statement to ABC News.
“Our priority now is to provide support to those affected while authorities investigate what happened, and we are available to cooperate with the investigation in any way we can,” a spokesperson for the short-term rental website said.