Teachers and business owner who died of carbon monoxide poisoning at Mexico City Airbnb brought light to those around them, families say
The father of a young woman with respiratory problems said he was the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning while teaching her how to clean a heating system at home.
“I feel guilty,” said Jaime Gonzalez, as he wept on a plastic chair near his daughter’s home in the Mexico City borough of San Ángel.
Gonzalez said the 30-year-old woman was born with asthma and had to wear a breathing mask at all times, including at night, because her symptoms were so severe.
“I’m thinking of her,” said Gonzalez, who lives in an apartment complex that sits near the home of the woman and her father, an artist.
Gonzalez said that, despite his daughter’s condition, he never thought she was going to be trapped in a cramped one-room apartment. Gonzalez, who is divorced, is now considering building a space for her outside of her family’s apartment.
“There’s nothing she can do when she gets in bed,” he said.
Gonzalez, 46, has long lived in San Ángel, a working-class neighborhood on the east side of Mexico City where residents are accustomed to poverty and a lack of medical attention.
But Gonzalez is not alone. More than 600 people in San Ángel died of carbon monoxide poisoning last year and two families are now fighting to get compensation from companies that own and manage the many air-conditioning systems in central Mexico.
The family of the young woman Gonzalez helped bring light to last year, identified as Maria de Jesus, say they should be made whole by the company at fault because of what they call a lapse in safety checks before opening their home to guests.
The family is also seeking compensation from Airbnb, which hosts many listings in the neighborhood and has become a target of the victims’ families, who have started asking for a financial accounting of its safety checks to make sure there was never a problem.
The company has offered to compensate the victims. But it has turned down a request to hold its host responsible and has said it is not responsible for the deaths because those who died were “accidental.”
The deaths prompted the government of President Andrés Manuel Ló