Action may set precedent for safe CO levels in residences

May 3, 2000
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+


MIAMI, FL — Better communication and coordination to prevent carbon monoxide-caused deaths are being crafted by Florida state’s newly appointed indoor air quality program coordinator, and a class action civil lawsuit has been filed against owners of an apartment complex following the carbon monoxide death sometime Jan. 8 or 9 of a 33-year-old woman.

Oveta Forbes, her daughter, and two friends were all found recently in the Miami Lakes apartment to which they had just moved. Forbes died, and the three other female occupants, ranging in age from 16 to 26, were unconscious.

Tim Wallace, employed by the Florida Department of Health for the past nine and a half years, recently assumed his duties as the department’s IAQ program coordinator. He was asked by the state toxicologist to devise better communication and coordination among county health departments and other agencies to prevent such deaths in the future.

A draft of his plan may be ready in February, he told The News.

Enforceable levels

One concern is that no enforceable safe or threshold levels of carbon monoxide exist for residences, he said. OSHA and NIOSH guidelines suggest allowable maximums of 50 or 35 parts per million (ppm, time-weighted average), respectively, for workplace environments. “Any residential regulation would have to be legislated,” he stated.

Wallace added that he is particularly concerned about high-risk residents, such as the elderly or very young.

An environmental specialist sent by the Miami-Dade County Health Department last November to the apartment where Forbes died found 106 ppm of carbon monoxide there. That was confirmed to The News by Morton Laitner, attorney for the Miami-Dade County Health Department.

Previous inspection showed high CO

The fumes were believed to have come from a water heater that supplied all 20 apartments in one building. Repairs were ordered, but a follow-up inspection was never requested, according to records of building officials, the Miami Herald reported.

The class action lawsuit was filed January 11 in the circuit court in and for Miami-Dade County against Terra Cotta Place Apartments, Inc., and Feit Management Co., both Florida corporations, on behalf of Veda Bailey, individually and as next best friend of Saida Bailey, “and on behalf of all others similarly situated.”

The complaint filed by the Miami law firm of Russo & Heffernan, P.A., seeks relief “for all persons, including deceased persons, who suffered injuries or death” from exposure to carbon monoxide or other toxic fumes and gases while residing at the Terra Cotta Place Apartments.

Veda Bailey had filed a complaint last Nov. 1 about fumes in apartment 205, saying she had a series of vomiting and dizzy spells and that in one instance she and her 8-year-old daughter, Saida, had fallen into a fume-induced sleep. That was the same apartment into which Forbes, her daughter, and two women friends moved Jan. 8.

The defendants have 20 days to respond.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

2014 World Energy Engineering Congress

Scenes from the 2014 World Energy Engineering Congress in Washington, D.C.

Podcasts

NEWSMakers: Kari Arfstrom

Kari Arfstrom, executive director of the HVACR Workforce Development Foundation, talks about the upcoming HVACR & Mechanical Conference. Posted on Jan. 23.

More Podcasts

ACHRNEWS

NEWS 01-26-15 cover

2015 January 26

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Regional Standards

With regional standards for a/c equipment going into effect in 2015, how do you think it will impact the industry?
View Results Poll Archive

HVACR INDUSTRY STORE

2015.jpg
2015 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research

 

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

DON'T MISS A THING

Magazine image
 
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con