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Deadly carbon monoxide poisoning in Mexico City vacation rental

South Bay campaign underway to help family
 Deadly carbon monoxide poisoning in Mexico City vacation rental
Posted at 5:54 PM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 21:07:57-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) - A campaign is underway in the South Bay to help a family whose vacation to Mexico City ended in tragedy, as three siblings slept.

A photo shows the three Arce siblings last Friday afternoon, smiling as they watched a Formula One practice run in Mexico City.

“Went to have a good time and end up in a nightmare, “ said family friend and Chula Vista resident Karla Escalante.

The three siblings, who live in Tijuana and Los Angeles, had just started their vacation when they went to sleep in a vacation rental in the central part of the city.

Andrea and Marco Arce spoke to ABC 10News via zoom from Mexico City.

“I vomited and felt really dizzy,” said Marco.

After a few hours at their rental, they started to feel sluggish. The next day, Andrea and her sister Angelica went to a doctor and were treated for heat exhaustion. That night, back at the apartment, the three went to sleep. When Marco woke up in the morning, he made a horrifying discovery.

“Lifted her hair and she was purple. So scared,” said Marco.

Their older sister, 29-year-old Angelica, was dead. Marco and Andrea were hospitalized for four days in critical condition from carbon monoxide poisoning.

“It's sad, breaks my heart,” said Escalante.

Escalante started a Gofundme campaign to help with the funeral, medical and other expenses.

“It includes a lot of strangers, kind-hearted people,” said Escalante.

Escalante says she and the family also hope to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and vacation rentals.

According to the CDC, every year, at least 430 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning. Numbers aren’t kept for vacation rentals, but from news accounts, many vacations have turned tragic, including more than 12 deaths in 2019.

In general, short-term rental companies encourage carbon monoxide detectors to be put in, but it's not required unless mandated by local laws.

While Mexico has encouraged landlords to install the detectors, it's not mandated. Escalante and Angelica’s family says that has to change.

"When you rent a nice place, you don't expect not to wake up the next day,” said Escalante.

This can't happen again to anyone else,” said a tearful Andrea.

Experts suggest anyone renting a vacation rental bring their own carbon monoxide detector.