A lawsuit, arising out of a swimming pool electrocution death at a Hilton Hotel swimming pool has been filed by a Missouri City family. The victim, Raul Hernandez Martinez, and his family spent the Labor Day weekend at the Hilton Houston Westchase hotel in West Houston. They were at the swimming pool at dusk when the pool lights came on automatically. It appears that an electrical current immediately surged through the water. Brown Electric Inc., a Houston-area electrical contractor, and the hotel were named as defendants. The contractor had performed recent upgrades to the pool’s electrical system.
Another of the children was shocked while swimming in the pool. It was reported that the boy’s mother reached for her son and she was also shocked and knocked unconscious. The mother was revived by CPR. She suffered several broken ribs when family members and bystanders dragged her from the pool. The young boy’s brother, Raul Hernandez Martinez, fought through the electrical current to retrieve his little brother and was able to push him to the edge of the pool where others helped pull him out. His brother would survive, but Raul became motionless as the electrical current continued to surge through the pool. He was pulled from the pool and rescuers tried to save him. But he was pronounced dead at a hospital six days later.
An investigation into the electrocution death found that the pool at the Hilton Westchase “did not meet applicable city, state and national electrical codes” and did not have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters on the pool light system. These are normal installations in pool construction to prevent electrical surges. Brown Electric had been hired by Hilton to bring the pool into compliance. But, according to a City of Houston inspector, Brown Electric performed the work without obtaining the proper permits. After the death, Hilton and Brown were cited for “use of electrical system which constitutes a hazard to safety, health and public welfare.”
The lawsuit also alleges that several days before the accident staff at the hotel called on Brown Electric to troubleshoot a problem pool light again. It was alleged that the electrician reconnected wires in a junction box and determined the pool system operational. John B. Thomas, a lawyer with the Hicks Thomas law firm in Houston, Texas, filed the suit on behalf of the family.