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State carbon monoxide detector law now in effect for new facilities

All newly built apartment buildings, dormitories, hospitals and hotels now are required to have hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors.

The final section of a bill passed by the state Legislature last April went into effect Jan. 1.

Sen. Corey Palumbo, D-Kanawha, introduced the bill in the 2012 legislative session after the February death of a Rhode Island construction worker from carbon monoxide poisoning at the Holiday Inn Express along Corridor G.

The bill required carbon monoxide detectors in all apartment buildings, boarding houses, dormitories, long-term care facilities, adult and child care facilities, assisted living facilities, hotels, motels and private homes intended to be rented or leased as of Sept.1, 2012.

Those detectors could be plugged into electrical outlets as long as the outlet was not controlled by a switch.

But starting this past Tuesday, Jan. 1, all newly built facilities that fall into those categories must have hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors.

The State Fire Marshal's office is charged with checking for those detectors.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Joe Leek does not expect to see many violations of the new requirements.

"A lot of (businesses) were coming into compliance before now," he said.

He said many facilities, even those not required to install hard-wired detectors, have already done so. By having the detectors hardwired, Leek said businesses do not have to worry about the detectors coming unplugged or being stolen.

William Moran, 44, of Warwick, R.I., died Jan. 31, 2012 at the Holiday Inn Express in South Charleston after a ventilation pipe running from the hotel's pool heater became disconnected and pumped carbon monoxide onto the third, fourth and fifth floors.

Moran was an employee of Rosciti Construction Group. His coworker, Bain Edmundson, 49, of Barrington, R.I., was staying in the same room and also was hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning. Edmundson was treated in a hyperbaric chamber at St. Francis Hospital to rid his bloodstream of the deadly gas.

Two other Rosciti workers were taken to an area hospital. They went into Moran and Edmundson's room around 10 a.m. that morning to wake the men after they failed to show up at a meeting.

Moran's widow and Edmondson, along with five guests, filed lawsuits against the hotel last year.

According to a November article in USA Today, eight people died and 170 others were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning in hotels over the last three years.

There were 30 carbon monoxide poisonings from 2010 through Nov. 8, the newspaper found in its analysis of more than 1,000 news accounts of hotel incidents and interviews with local fire departments.

Contact writer Zack Harold at 304-348-7939 or zack.harold@dailymail.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ZackHarold.


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