New Bill Seeks to Curb Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Maine

Each year in the U.S., about 15,200 people require emergency medical care or miss at least a day of work because of carbon monoxide poisoning. About 430 people lose their lives to this invisible threat each year. Maine residents could easily prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by installing detectors in every building. Currently, Maine law does require carbon monoxide detectors in some – but not all – buildings. A new bill making its way to the legislature would change that.

The bill proposes to require all Maine homes and hotel rooms to have hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors. Right now, only newly built homes, rental homes, hotels, and dormitories are required to have them. The new bill would require hard-wired detectors in all buildings in which individuals sleep. The bill was proposed by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, working in collaboration with John Martell, the president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine.

Bill may reduce rates of Maine carbon monoxide poisoning

A recent case of illnesses at a resort was the catalyst for this effort to curb carbon monoxide poisoning in Maine. This past February, guests at The InnSeason Resorts at The Falls at Ogunquit became ill when carbon monoxide leaked out of a broken pipe. The pipe provided a vent for a propane furnace. Guests from multiple rooms complained of nausea and headaches, and some passed out from the odorless, colorless gas. The fire department was alerted. Firefighters reported finding levels of carbon monoxide that were almost 10 times the level that would have triggered a carbon monoxide alarm.

Reports indicate that at least 21 guests of the resort became ill from the gas and seven people were transported to local hospitals for emergency medical care. Since the resort had been built in 1988, the hotel owners were not required to equip the rooms with hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors, and so were not sanctioned for the incident. Since the incident occurred, the resort has updated its rooms with the alarm system.

Although the proposed bill is intended to save lives and prevent serious illness, critics say it is impractical to spend approximately $1,000 per room on hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors. They propose requiring non-hard-wired detectors, which are available as combination smoke alarms/carbon monoxide devices.

Legal help for carbon monoxide poisoning victims

Unfortunately, even if the new bill passes, it may be quite some time before all Maine buildings are retrofitted with hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors. In the meantime, individuals who stay in older homes or hotels are still at risk of suffering illness or death due to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to carbon monoxide poisoning, you can rely on the Maine personal injury lawyers at Hardy, Wolf and Downing to provide you with expert legal guidance.

Since time is limited to file a claim, it’s imperative to contact our law firm right away. Our attorneys will review your case and investigate the incident to assess fault. If the CO exposure was a result of poor maintenance or negligence, we can help you obtain damages through filing a carbon monoxide lawsuit in Maine.

Get the help you need during your recovery by calling us today at 1-800-INJURED.