Six adults and four children who are residents of a building in Jersey City were taken to the hospital after experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure. According to The Jersey Journal, residents suffered dizziness, wooziness and other symptoms relating to being exposed to high amounts of carbon monoxide. Residents reportedly heard carbon monoxide alarms go off around 9 p.m. on May 14, 2011. A local Fire Director stated that if the building had not been equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, the residents could have died.
After the residents were evacuated from the building, firefighters detected high carbon monoxide levels throughout the building. This particular building is comprised of a ground floor grocery store and five residential units on upper floors.
The elevated levels of carbon monoxide have been linked to the grocery store owner setting up a gasoline powered generator to provide power to the grocery when the electricity to the store was off. This generator released the carbon monoxide gas; and the store owner has been fined.
In April, a 24-year-old woman died in Jersey City from carbon monoxide poisoning linked to a damaged water heater vent the day after moving into an apartment. An investigation is examining whether a man who died at the same residency in March could have also been killed due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This particular building did not have carbon monoxide alarms.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a potentially lethal gas. It is odorless and colorless making it difficult if not impossible to detect without a properly working CO detector/alarm. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that people can be poisoned by breathing CO if it builds up in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces. In addition, the CDC cautions that over 400 Americans die per year from accidental CO poisoning, with an additional 20,000 visiting the emergency room and over 4,000 needing to be hospitalized because of CO poisoning. Deaths caused by CO exposure are highest for individuals 65 and older.
As these stories and statistical information demonstrate, exposure to high levels of CO is extremely dangerous and sometimes can be attributed to a property owner’s failure to maintain their premises and/or adhere to building safety codes.
At Blume Forte, our New Jersey premises liability attorneys are familiar with the laws pertaining to hazardous property conditions and how individuals or family members with meritorious cases may be able to obtain compensation from those responsible for causing them harm. Call us at 973-635-5400 for a no-cost consultation.