More questions than answers in CO case |

More questions than answers in CO case

Dear Editor:

While it is fully understandable that the family of the carbon monoxide victims wants its pound of flesh, the more I contemplate the charges surrounding the late 2008 deaths at the Popcorn Lane house in Aspen, the less sense any of this makes.

Most of the work was done on this house in ’04 and ’05, all of it completed in the first half of ’06. During the course of the building, inspections were given. There was even a rejection of a certificate of occupancy based on several items. The owner of the house/contractor cured the problems and received his certificate of occupancy in 2006. Presumably, many workmen, inspectors, the contractor and the owner were on site during this time frame. Wouldn’t someone have noticed a disconnected exhaust pipe? Odds are they would have.

It is common knowledge, especially in the upper Roaring Fork Valley, that many a homeowner receives a certificate of occupancy and then brings in workmen to tweak the project. There are all sorts of changes performed. Hot tubs are installed, air humidifiers, even new bathrooms, venting for new dryers, the list is endless. Perhaps this isn’t the case at the Popcorn Lane house – and it’s likely no one will ever know – but the point is that well over two years passed between the issuance of the certificate of occupancy and the tragic deaths. Over two years.

Is it logical that no one was in that utility area in these years? I, for one, am in my utility room many times a week. There are filters to be changed, the vacuum is in there, electrical boxes, on and on. Has it been more than two years since you were in your utility room? Wouldn’t you have noticed a disconnected exhaust pipe in all that time?

Even more puzzling, surely someone slept in that house from the time of the final inspection to the time of the deaths. Two and a half years had passed. Was the exhaust pipe disconnected that whole time?

I also wonder who managed the property. A company? The owner himself? Is there no accountability there? I’ve read nothing about this seemingly important issue.

I could go on with the oddity of these serious charges against three men. I could wonder if there isn’t political motivation on the part of the D.A. The one thing I do know is that if I worked for a building department, or if I were a tradesman, and I knew that years after I was last on a construction site I could be held accountable for just about anything, I’d find a different line of work.

Molly Swanton


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