Death of mom, daughter linked to faulty air conditioner at Rocky Mount motel

August 21, 2018

The site where a woman was electrocuted by an air conditioning unit.

Authorities confirmed Tuesday that a woman and her young daughter were killed when they were electrocuted Monday at an extended stay motel in Rocky Mount during a freak accident involving a faulty room air conditioner, officials said.

Kendra Pittman, 30, and Siiyahh, her 9-year-old daughter, died after the incident at the Economy Inn Hotel and Suites, located off of Interstate 95 in Nash County, Rocky Mount police Cpl. Brad Summerlin said in a written statement.

Investigators said Pittman, who lived at the motel with her three children, suffered cardiac arrest during the incident. Her daughter was rushed for medical treatment to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, where she died, police said.

According to police, there was apparently an issue with the heating and ventilation unit in the room shortly before 11:30 a.m., and Pittman was trying to reset it, on a day when temperatures soared into the 90s.

Pittman’s 10-year-old son told police that the unit malfunctioned and started smoking. The boy said his mother opened the door to let the smoke out of the room and when she tried to leave the room, she collapsed and lost consciousness.

A family member of the woman told WRAL News on Monday that Pittman died after being shocked.

“You’ve got families living in here and she was doing the right thing,” said her cousin, Tony Williams. “She lost her life in her room.”

Summerlin said the ventilation unit apparently charged the surrounding area, sending a jolt of electricity through the bodies of the victims as they tried to exit the room.

Building inspectors were called to the scene to review the unit, and police said they would inspect the motel’s code enforcement records.

Police have not said if charges would be filed in connection with the case.

A motel employee declined to comment to WRAL News on Monday.

The Rocky Mount Fire Department provided a list of recent inspection reports for the hotel. Donnie Daniels, division chief of life safety and training for the department categorized what was found as “common violations.”

Update hourly