The luxury hotel in Mexico where an American couple was found dead earlier this week ignored repeated signs of a possible gas leak — and had even disabled carbon monoxide detectors earlier this year, according to a report.
Staff at the Hyatt-owned Rancho Pescadero reportedly knew and complained about gas leaks believed to be escaping from a system feeds outdoor fire pits in the months leading up to Abby Lutz and John Heathco’s death inside their hotel room, managers told the Los Angeles Times.
The couple — who sought medical attention for what they thought was food poisoning — died Tuesday from “intoxication by substance yet to be determined.” Local authorities initially speculated they died from gas inhalation.
Ricardo Carbajal, a former night manager at the $600-a-night beachfront boutique hotel, told the newspaper that hotel managers disabled the carbon monoxide detectors in January — three months after guests repeatedly complained that the loud alarms routinely went off.
“They knew there were problems with gas leaks,” said Carbajal, who stopped working at the resort in March after a dispute over pay.
“Everyone was aware of the alarms and that the detectors were off.”
The detector shutdown was confirmed to the paper by three other employees, one of whom said that hotel security guards continued to receive alerts when the devices detected gas.
Guests and employees also frequently complained about the scent of leaking gas at the hotel, but their concerns fell on deaf ears, the report said.
“Housekeepers reported gas leaks, security reported gas leaks, maintenance workers reported gas leaks,” one of the employees who asked to remain anonymous, told the LA Times.
Incredibly, one housekeeper fell ill while cleaning Lutz and Heathco’s room just days before they were found dead, according to the employee.
Two firefighters responding to the couple’s death also “quickly became overcome” by the strong gas smell upon entering their hotel room, according to a GoFundMe seeking aid in their recovery costs.
Hyatt officials previously said they do not believe problems with the hotel infrastructure or a gas leak were to blame for Lutz and Heathco’s deaths.
The couple had been dead for about 10 to 11 hours before their bodies were discovered by police and paramedics, who were responding to reports of the two Americans being unconscious, authorities said.
It is not clear how long they had been in their room before they died, but other hotel guests told the newspaper that the smell of gas had been overpowering throughout the resort.
Alexander Coughlin, a real estate agent from San Francisco who stayed at Rancho Pescadero from Friday through Monday, said he had asked to be moved twice during his dinner at the hotel’s restaurant because of the odor.
A waiter reportedly agreed with Coughlin that the stink was powerful.
Dozens of employees gathered outside the resort in protest Friday, detailing a history of complaints made about the gas leaks and the worry of a possible explosion, as well as other safety conditions and alleged wage theft.
“We are indignant that we reported this, and this tragedy still happened,” the employee told the LA Times.
Despite the employees’ claims, a spokesperson for Hyatt told The Post in a statement Friday that neither gas nor carbon monoxide appears to be the blame for Lutz and Heathco’s deaths.
“We understand authorities immediately tested the air quality in the room after responding to the situation, and at the time, did not report any findings of gas or carbon monoxide and advised that the hotel was cleared to continue normal operations. The hotel continues to monitor air quality,” the representative said, adding that the building where the couple died has been closed off.