The grieving mothers of three Americans who died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning while staying at an AirBnB in Mexico City plan on suing the rental company.
Kandace Florence and Jordan Marshall, both 28, and Courtez Hall, 33, were found dead inside the vacation rental after they traveled to Mexico to celebrate Dia de los Muertos in October.
In an interview with NBC News on Wednesday, their mothers spoke out publicly for the first time since their children’s deaths and claimed that Airbnb should require carbon monoxide detectors to be placed in all of their rentals.
“I can not process in my mind why my daughter is not here today,” said Freida Florence, Kandace’s mother. “There is no excuse. There is no excuse, it cost $30. If I had known, I would have bought it for her.”
Local autopsy reports confirmed that the three friends died from the deadly toxin. The mothers’ Atlanta-based attorney, L. Chris Stewart, said it was caused by a broken water heater.
The lawsuit, which has not yet been filed, demands that Airbnb mandate carbon monoxide detectors at its properties. Stewart told NBC that the rental giant has been sued over this same issue in the past.
Airbnb already regulates guns and parties, the attorney said, making adding the detectors a no-brainer. Stewart said he believes the company does not require the detectors because it would force them to pull listings from its website, cutting into profits.
“It’s always about money. They only speak money, which is why this lawsuit is coming,” he said.
In a statement to NBC, Airbnb said that the Mexico City property has been suspended and that it has been in contact with the US Embassy in Mexico.
“This is a terrible tragedy, and our thoughts are with the families and loved ones as they grieve such an unimaginable loss,” the company said. “Our priority right now is supporting those impacted as the authorities investigate what happened, and we stand ready to assist with their inquiries however we can.”
Airbnb added that it already offers smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to all eligible hosts and has given away over 200,000 of them. They added that all of their hosts are encouraged to confirm that they have both.
For these mothers, however, it’s simply not enough.
“We can never get our babies back. But we really want to ensure that no other family has to deal with this,” Jennifer Marshall, mother of Jordan Marshall, said. “The way that we lost our children, I mean, it’s devastating. You go from grief to rage because this could have so easily been avoided.”
On the night of Oct. 30, Kadance Florence was speaking on the phone to her boyfriend when she said she was not feeling well and said something wasn’t right, WAVY reported . The call was then dropped and Florence’s boyfriend, who was back in the US, couldn’t get ahold of her.
He reached out to the Airbnb host to request a welfare check and police showed up to the apartment that night. Officers noticed a strong stench of gas and found all three friends dead.
Marshall and Hall were both educators in New Orleans and Florence was a small business owner from Virginia Beach.
“These are the three examples of what parents want their children to be. We lost a 12th-grade teacher, a seventh-grade teacher, an entrepreneur who built a company from nothing. That’s what we want. These people were helping the next generation,” Stewart said.
In May, three American tourists died of carbon monoxide poisoning while staying at a luxury Sandals resort in the Bahamas.
Tennessee couple Michael Phillips, 68, and Robbie Phillips, 65, and Florida resident Vincent Chiarella, 64, were found dead at the Sandals Emerald Bay Resort in Great Exuma on May 6.
The victims were found unresponsive in their rooms after seeking medical help for feeling ill the prior night before returning to their villas.
In the US alone, roughly 430 people die a year from accidental CO poisoning and another 50,000 visit emergency rooms each year, according to the CDC.
The gas is especially dangerous as it is odorless, colorless and tasteless and can kill people and animals who are exposed within minutes at high levels of concentration.
Carbon monoxide can be found in CO fumes produced by “furnaces, vehicles, generators, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, or burning charcoal or wood,” the CDC said.