Detector proposal stalls in GarCo commission

A proposal to require carbon monoxide detectors in unincorporated Garfield County stalled Monday over disagreement about the degree to which the requirement should extend to existing residences.

The proposal came in response to the deaths of a Denver family of four when they were poisoned by carbon monoxide while staying at an Aspen residence over the Thanksgiving weekend.

Garfield County commissioners voted 1-1 Monday on a proposal brought to them by the county building department. The deadlock means the measure is defeated.

It would have required carbon monoxide alarms to be installed outside each sleeping area in new residences with fuel-fired appliances or attached garages, both of which could lead to buildup of the gas in homes. Enforcement of the measure also would have occurred in the case of existing residences with those carbon monoxide sources, whenever building permits of any sort were sought for those dwellings.

“I think that goes too far,” said county Commissioner John Martin.

He said he recognizes the importance of the detectors. However, a requirement for existing residences should apply only if the owner seeks a building permit that would result in heating system improvements, ventilation measures or other actions having a direct bearing on possible carbon monoxide levels, Martin said.

Commissioner Tresi Houpt supported the detector requirement as proposed.

“This is one that escapes people’s minds and it’s very important,” she said.

The Garfield County proposal is expected to be brought back before commissioners after newly elected Commissioner Mike Sampson settles into his job.

Sampson, who attended Monday’s meeting but isn’t being sworn into office until today, declined to comment on what position he might take on the matter.

The county measure was put forward as the state Legislature is expected to consider a bill that would require detectors in all homes being sold or newly constructed in Colorado, if they have carbon monoxide sources in them. A similar measure failed last year.

This year’s legislation is named in honor of the Lofgren family, who died in the Aspen incident.


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