State lawmakers mull legislation in wake of Aspen deaths | AspenTimes.com

State lawmakers mull legislation in wake of Aspen deaths

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” State representatives vowed Wednesday to pursue legislation aimed at requiring homes be fitted with carbon monoxide detectors.

The declaration comes about two weeks after a family died at an Aspen-area residence while visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“It is needed,” said Rep. John Soper (D-Thornton), who joined with state Rep.-elect Lois Court (D-Denver) to push for the legislation.

He said that the proposed bill ” the Lofgren Family Home Safety Act ” is to be introduced early in the next session of the Colorado General Assembly. The session is set to begin Jan. 7.

The act would require carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in all new homes, and existing homes for sale in Colorado.

The idea is to hopefully prevent tragedies, such as the one that claimed Parker Lofgren, 39; his wife, Caroline, 42; and their two children, Owen, 10, and Sophie, 8, of Denver.

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The family died of carbon monoxide poisoning, authorities said. Family friends, who had driven from Denver to share the house with them for the holiday weekend, found them dead inside a bedroom at home on 10 Popcorn Lane.

The residence is located about four miles east of Aspen in unincorporated Pitkin County. Investigators have not yet said whether the home was outfitted with a carbon monoxide detector.

“The bottom line is that people should do everything they can to avoid these problems,” said Jonathan Birenbaum, a legal recruiter who attended grade school and grew up with Caroline Lofgren in Larchmont, N.Y.

“It’s a tragedy.”

The proposal marks another attempt by Soper to get similar legislation passed. The

last proposal failed to clear the Senate in spring.

“Maybe we should have pushed harder,” he said.

The proposal is also the latest in a number of efforts to require detectors be installed in area homes. The city of Aspen issued an administrative order this week that requires all new homes be fitted with carbon monoxide detectors.

More narrowly, building permits won’t be issued until city officials determine that the residences have a detector outside each sleeping area. The detectors must have audible signal of not less than 70 decibels.

The law went into effect this week.

The Aspen City Council is also on track to adopt an ordinance that calls for all existing residential spaces to be retrofitted to include the devices by a date to be determined. A similar proposal is to be considered by Pitkin County commissioners later this month.

Of note, a Pitkin County and city of Aspen building code requires homes to have one carbon monoxide detector, although it is not specific as to the location of the device. The regulation has been in place since 2003.

whaupt@aspentimes.com

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