BOONE, N.C. -- A Watauga Health inspector ordered the Best Western Plus in Boone to fix ventilation problems ASAP, just weeks before a couple died in the room above a natural gas heater and months before an 11-year-old boy died in the same room.

Investigators detected carbon monoxide at the hotel, according to a health department spokeswoman.

Public records do not indicate if inspectors ever cleared the vent problem before three people died.

The couple, the boy and his mother who was hospitalized all stayed in room 225, located directly above an equipment room with a natural gas heater for the enclosed indoor pool.

Inspection records released by the county health department show on March 6 an inspector cited the Best Western at 840 East King Street in Boone.

The inspector wrote: Chemical/Equipment room is required to have natural cross ventilation or forced air ventilation. This must be corrected ASAP.

There is no record that the hotel fixed the problem.

Watauga Health Department spokeswoman Jennifer Green declined to answer questions about the report.

Best Western corporate offices tell WCNC-TV that the location is independently owned and operated.

Appalachian Hospitality Management operates the Best Western Plus Blue Ridge Parkway. The hotel released a statement Monday saying:

The health and safety of guests who stay at our hotel is our number one priority. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of those involved. We are cooperating fully with authorities who are investigating this truly tragic incident. The hotel will remain closed as we work closely with authorities to address any issues identified and authorities declare the hotel cleared for occupancy. We respectfully ask that any further questions be directed to the Boone Police Department or other governmental agencies that are investigating the matter.

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