Carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in Aspen by March |

Carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in Aspen by March

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen CO, Colorado

ASPEN ” Every residential and lodging unit in Aspen must have a carbon monoxide detector in it by March 2 or be subject to penalties and fines.

The Aspen City Council on Monday passed an ordinance that mandates detectors be in all new and existing residences, as well as hotels and condos.

Home and business owners who fail to provide carbon monoxide detectors are subject to a $250 fine for the first offense; $500 for the second offense and a court summons for additional infractions.

The new law is applicable to all buildings that provide a place for people to sleep ” single-family homes, apartments, condominiums, hotels, timeshare units, the jail, the hospital and homeless shelters.

CO detectors must be centrally located outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. The detectors must be installed so that the audible signal is not less than 70 decibels from the sleeping area. The ordinance goes a step further by requiring that any residence that has a gas or fuel burning appliance in a sleeping area must have detector in that room.

The ordinance was prompted by a tragedy that occurred over the Thanksgiving weekend when a family of four died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a home they were staying in four miles east of Aspen.

Denver residents Parker Lofgren, 39; his wife, Caroline, 42; and their children, Owen, 10, and Sophie, 8, were discovered Nov. 28 in a bedroom of the residence by family friends, who drove up from Denver to share the house with them for the holiday.

There was no CO detector in the home.

Pitkin County has since strengthened its law regarding carbon monoxide detectors. The regulation requires all residential property owners to install and maintain CO detectors in their buildings ” one near each bedroom and one located generally one each level of the structure.

CO detectors are available at local hardware stores for between $30 and $70. But for those who can’t afford them, the city of Aspen is offering them for $5, while supplies last.

There are currently 200 available at City Hall and 100 at the Aspen Fire Protection District station. Another 150 are on order, according to Aspen Community Development Director Chris Bendon. Anyone who wants to buy a detector can call 920-5000 for more information.

Stephen Kanipe, Aspen’s chief building official, said CO detectors have a life span of five years and it’s important to replace them when they have reached their useful life.

The proposed new regulations were developed jointly by Pitkin County, the Aspen Fire Protection District and city of Aspen staffers after reviewing other municipal laws specific to carbon monoxide detector regulation, according to city officials.

Questions concerning how to install or operate a CO detector are being fielded by Aspen Fire Marshal Ed VanWalraven. He can be reached at 925-2690, or

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