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Maintenance crews told student she could re-enter college dorm room just hours before suffering carbon monoxide poisoning which killed her boyfriend, 21

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A student who suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning revealed that maintenance crews told her she could safely return to her college dorm just hours before the leak killed her boyfriend. 

On December 11, 2023, a deadly carbon monoxide leak broke out in on-campus housing at Evergreen State College in Washington. 

The carbon monoxide poisoning tragically killed 21-year-old student Jonathan Rodriguez and sent his girlfriend and a roommate to the hospital. 

New details in the investigation have revealed that maintenance personnel at the on-campus Modular Apartments units in Olympia silenced carbon monoxide alarms earlier that day. 

According to investigators, the maintenance workers assumed that the alarms were faulty and that there was no actual leak. 

On December 11, 2023, there was a carbon monoxide leak in on-campus housing at Evergreen State College in Washington

On December 11, 2023, there was a carbon monoxide leak in on-campus housing at Evergreen State College in Washington

The carbon monoxide poisoning tragically killed 21-year-old student Jonathan Rodriguez and sent his girlfriend and a roommate to the hospital

The carbon monoxide poisoning tragically killed 21-year-old student Jonathan Rodriguez and sent his girlfriend and a roommate to the hospital

The 21-year-old victim was set to graduate this Spring. Rodriguez is survived by his parents and two siblings, according to an obituary

The 21-year-old victim was set to graduate this Spring. Rodriguez is survived by his parents and two siblings, according to an obituary

'He connected with so many people at Evergreen and made a lot [of] friends along the way,' the obituary said

‘He connected with so many people at Evergreen and made a lot [of] friends along the way,’ the obituary said

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) conducted a three-month investigation last December and blamed a poorly installed tankless water heater for the deadly incident

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) conducted a three-month investigation last December and blamed a poorly installed tankless water heater for the deadly incident

New details in the investigation have revealed that maintenance personnel at the on-campus Modular Apartments units in Olympia silenced carbon monoxide alarms earlier that day

New details in the investigation have revealed that maintenance personnel at the on-campus Modular Apartments units in Olympia silenced carbon monoxide alarms earlier that day

‘That mistaken assumption was one of several key contributors to this tragedy,’ the Patrol investigation stated. 

The workers told Rodriguez’s girlfriend and another female that they could return to their dorm rooms despite the alarms. 

Despite efforts from an Evergreen police officer who broke down the door and performed CPR at 8:30 pm that night, within hours was dead. The females, 19 and 20, were sent to hospital. 

The Washington State Patrol (WSP) conducted a three-month investigation last December and blamed a poorly installed tankless water heater for the deadly incident.

Photographs obtained through a public records request by KING 5 show what investigators described as an exhaust pipe that was not fully connected to a vent leading outside. 

Investigators also blamed campus maintenance crews, who failed to recognize that there was a carbon monoxide leak despite the alarm. 

The alarms had gone off several times throughout the day, but crews failed to realize that there was an actual carbon monoxide threat.  

After the alarms were cleaned by staffers, students were told they were allowed to go back to their rooms. 

One of the students told investigators that she had asked the maintenance workers if it was safe to return to the dorms and they said yes.

One of the students told investigators that she had asked the maintenance workers if it was safe to return to the dorms and they said yes

One of the students told investigators that she had asked the maintenance workers if it was safe to return to the dorms and they said yes

Photographs obtained through a public records request by KING 5 show what investigators described as an exhaust pipe that was not fully connected to a vent leading outside

Photographs obtained through a public records request by KING 5 show what investigators described as an exhaust pipe that was not fully connected to a vent leading outside

‘When the alarms first turned off, I wasn’t sure, so [I said] ‘We’re good? We’re all good to go?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, you should be all good. You’re good to go,” she said.

The other student described the final moments she remembered before falling unconscious from the exposure to carbon monoxide.  

‘Just suddenly, I kind of fell to the floor in my bedroom, and because I was still feeling dizzy and I almost didn’t really process that I fell, until I was trying to push myself back up,’ said the student. She said the next thing she remembers is waking up at the hospital. 

Neither of the students are being identified, nor the staffers, until a charging decision has been made in the investigation.  

Dr. John Carmichael, president of The Evergreen State College, said no students live in those college dorm units following the incident. 

He also reported that whenever an alarm sounds in a living unit, campus police and the local fire department are notified following the campus tragedy. 

The 21-year-old victim was set to graduate this Spring.  

Rodriguez is survived by his parents and two siblings, according to an obituary. 

‘He connected with so many people at Evergreen and made a lot [of] friends along the way,’ the obituary said. ‘He deeply loved and cared for so many people, including his partner Abigail. Jon was very excited for his future career plans, goals, and personal life.’



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