Serious CB carbon monoxide incident raises concern

Paradise Park boiler part recall process not completed

[  By Mark Reaman  ]

A serious carbon monoxide (C.O.) incident that resulted in the extensive treatment of a Crested Butte woman on January 19 has raised awareness that further incidents could be an issue in houses built at the same time. All are located in the 800 block area of Gothic Avenue in the Paradise Park neighborhood and the problem appears connected to boilers that were installed with parts that have since been recalled but have not been replaced.

According to Crested Butte Fire Protection District chief Rob Weisbaum, he is not at liberty to disclose the identity of the woman involved but she walked into the Crested Butte station complaining of medical issues. Crested Butte EMTs recognized potential C.O. poisoning and treated her before then transporting her to the Gunnison Valley Hospital. From there she was taken by ambulance to the Front Range for further treatment.  

“This prompted us to go to the residence where we found high levels of carbon monoxide in the house,” Weisbaum said. “We ventilated the house to try and find the source. Since then, we have condemned the property as we are still investigating the cause of the C.O. and are working with other agencies to help identify that. As such, we are currently stating the case is under investigation.”

When asked about the incident, Crested Butte community development director Troy Russ said the town first heard about the situation on January 23. He said he received a call from Don Jones, president of Controlled Hydronics, Inc who had been contacted by the impacted woman with C.O. poisoning. 

“The boiler apparently has a recall to replace grommets on the vent piping inside the boiler. According to Controlled Hydronics, Inc., they should have addressed the defect at the time of the recall,” explained Russ. “Unfortunately, they didn’t. Mr. Jones indicated to me that 17 homes in Paradise Park had the boiler installed and 14 have been recalled. Controlled Hydronics, Inc. asked to the town to provide contact information of the 14 homeowners so they can schedule a time to install a repair kit. Work will involve installing a new sensor grommet (small rubber ring) in the exhaust pipe inside the boiler. Town utilized our utility billing information and provided Controlled Hydronics, Inc. contact information first thing this (Tuesday) morning.” 

Russ said the units were all part of the affordable housing project built by Bywater in the 800 block of Gothic Avenue. He said the recall notices should have been communicated from the manufacturer to the homeowners. 

The Crested Butte News reached out to Don Jones of Controlled Hydronics, Inc with several questions but has not yet received a response.

Weisbaum said the CBFPD is ready and willing to check any units for potential C.O. contamination. “We obtained permission from other homeowners in the area and have swept their houses to check for C.O. and we haven’t found any readings at adjacent properties that we looked at,” he said. “This appears as an isolated event at one specific property right now. We have not checked all 14 units. We have only been requested to check a couple. If occupants in those effected units request us, we will be more than happy to perform a quick sweep. Sounds like the wheels are in motion for a fix which is great.”

From a safety standpoint, Weisbaum encouraged all local residents who have gas appliances in their homes to routinely check their C.O. detectors. “We oftentimes recommend this when the time changes. If there is not a C.O. detector, it is highly encouraged to purchase one,” he advised. “Some of the signs and symptoms of C.O. exposure can include headache, slurred speech, disorientation, lack of coordination and cherry red skin. C.O. is an invisible and odorless gas, so it is imperative to have working detectors in your homes. C.O. is produced from incomplete burning of natural gas or other products that contain carbon. These can include gas appliances (stoves and fireplaces), boilers and exhaust. If people are concerned there may be a C.O. leak, we are happy to come by and do a sweep with our gas monitor to confirm.” 

Check Also

Town and county meeting Monday to discuss Whetstone

Rents aren’t looking cheap at the moment By Mark Reaman It appears agreement could be …