Virginia College Dorm Lacked Carbon Monoxide Detectors

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

There was no carbon monoxide detector in the Roanoke College dormitory where one person died and dozens of teenagers and adults were sickened after a leak of the odorless gas, but the school is considering installing them, a spokeswoman said Saturday.

One woman remained hospitalized Saturday.

State law doesn't require carbon monoxide detectors in college dorms, but spokeswoman Teresa Gereaux said the private school would consider installing them.

"We're in the process right now of investigating the options of what will work with the systems we already have in place," she said.

A total of 114 people were taken to two hospitals Friday after waking up with headaches, nausea, dizziness and shakiness. A 91-year-old man was found dead in the dorm, but medical examiners had not determined the cause of death.

About 100 of the guests had come from across Virginia, with a handful from North Carolina and Pennsylvania, to attend a Power in the Spirit Lutheran conference at the campus. Thirty-seven teenage girls from southwest Virginia were there with Upward Bound, a six-week college preparatory program.

"There is a profound sadness of what has occurred, but there also is this wonderful sense of community that's come out of this that's like nothing I've ever seen," Gereaux said.

Investigators were focusing on a gas water heater system as the possible cause, Gereaux said.

"It's just hard to say exactly how long that will take," she said of the investigation.

Five people had been hospitalized overnight at Lewis-Gale Medical Center in Salem, but four were released Saturday, authorities said. The fifth was a woman who Gereaux said had been upgraded from critical to stable.

The man who died was identified as retired pastor Walter J. Vierling of Pearisburg. He was in a dorm that had been built in 1913 and renovated in 1986.