Carbon monoxide detectors now required in Aspen homes |

Carbon monoxide detectors now required in Aspen homes

ASPEN ” The city of Aspen issued an administrative order on Monday that requires all new homes to be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors.

That means building permits will not be issued until officials have determined those residential structures have a detector outside each sleeping area, and the devices must have an audible signal not less than 70 decibels from those areas.

And it appears the law will go further. The Aspen City Council on Monday passed a first reading of an ordinance that will require all existing residential spaces in the city to be retrofitted to include the detectors by a date not yet certain.

The council will make the final vote on that ordinance during a Jan. 12 public meeting.

Pitkin County commissioners are scheduled to consider an identical ordinance on Dec. 17. Commissioners will consider the measure as an emergency ordinance, which allows for its quick adoption and implementation.

The requirement on new structures in the city is effective immediately.

Stephen Kanipe, Aspen’s chief building official, said the city and Aspen fire officials are working with carbon monoxide manufacturers to supply detectors in bulk ” as many as 10,000 at a time.

They will be sold at about $30 a piece and given to those who can’t afford one, Kanipe said.

Budget savings in city departments, as well as the fire department and individual donations, will help fund the giveaway program, he added.

“The city is prepared to be certain that no household has to do without one because of cost,” Kanipe said.

How the law is to be enforced has yet to be determined. Kanipe said his staff is currently investigating how to administer an inspection program, which likely will involve thousands of properties.

Kanipe said the city will follow the instructions imposed by the manufacturers, which could include a plug-in device or a detector that sticks on the wall with double-stick tape.

Both the city and county have required carbon monoxide detectors in new construction since 2003; the city’s new administrative order regulates the specific placement of the devices.

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.

The new regulations on carbon monoxide detectors come after a Denver family ” Parker and Caroline Lofgren and their children, Owen and Sophie ” were found dead in the bedroom of a home near Aspen on Friday, Nov. 28. They were victims of carbon monoxide poisoning.

After an inspection last week, an investigator with a private engineering firm hired by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said a “combination of errors” in the home’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems may have been to blame for the release and spread of the deadly, odorless gas in the residence. The deaths remain under investigation.

Authorities have not said whether or not there was a carbon monoxide detector in the home, located at 10 Popcorn Lane.

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