COLORADO SPRINGS – It’s a silent killer, carbon monoxide. It’s filling the homes of unsuspecting residents across Colorado Springs and beyond. Fire department experts say they are getting these calls almost every day during the winter months. News 5 Investigative Reporter Patrick Nelson dug into some of the reasons why and it turns out many of these issues are the result of the hail storms last year.
We know those hail storms did a number on people’s cars and rooftops and now we’re hearing from the fire department and home inspectors a lot damage still hasn’t been fixed and damaged rooftop vents are causing people to get sick in their own homes because the toxic gas can’t escape. The experts say it’s happening far too often and it could have deadly consequences.
“We run on these every day throughout the winter months and sometimes the summer months it is that important that you have working detectors within your house,” said Captain Jeff Loveless of the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
Carbon monoxide calls are some of the most dangerous for firefighters. In 2018 firefighters saved lives at more than 100 dangerous carbon monoxide calls. Firefighters on the front lines say without being able to see or smell the gas these calls are often life or death scenarios.
“It is a silent killer like they say and when you look at we’ve run on and what I’ve run on and experienced personally it’s families it’s young children it’s anyone who is living in communities,” said Capt. Loveless.
So what is causing these frequent carbon monoxide problems? Inspectors at the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department say the aftermath of the devastating hail storms last year left many rooftop vents dented and seriously damaged. Six months later, inspectors say they are still finding carbon monoxide problems as a result.
“When this thing dents in. The pipe down here it can just stop it so when the smoke comes up from inside the house it will come up and get blocked and it will go right back down inside your home and that’s where it becomes a safety issue.”, said PPRBD Public Information Officer Greg Dingrando.
Integrity Roof and Painting roofing experts showed us some of the damage first hand through videos they shot on rooftops where hail storms caused damage to these crucial vents.
“I just want to show you guys what’s up here. You can see the furnace cap here is soft metal and you can see the dings up here. This could be some old stuff and some new stuff certainly,” the roofer says in the video.
Not all of the damage will cause carbon monoxide issues, but the experts say these are just examples of why you’ll want to take a look.
Building department inspectors now wear these personal carbon monoxide detectors on the job. Having these on them during inspections has helped them discover major problems where lines are blocked or unknowingly disconnected allowing the toxic gas to leak into people’s homes. One of these inspections literally changed an elderly woman’s life.
“They went in and she had a walker and was on oxygen and once they went in their personal detector went off so they were able to catch that and get it fixed. We came back six weeks later for another inspection and that same woman was off the walker, off the oxygen and in great health,” said Dingrando.
A carbon monoxide detector for your home will cost you about $30. First responders say it is the first line of defense against the silent killer which has impacted far too many homes in recent days
“If they don’t have a working CO monitor or CO detector alarm within their house they can pass these things off as damage is being done. So it’s important to have a CO monitor or CO alarm in your house next to the sleeping areas,” said Capt. Loveless.
Here is some important information to help you address this serious threat…
If your carbon monoxide detector goes off and you sense there is a problem first responders say you need to get to safety outside your home first, then call 911.
A carbon monoxide detector for your home will cost you about $30. First responders say it is the first line of defense against the silent killer which has impacted far too many homes in recent days.
If you are unable to inspect your rooftop vents and appliances on your own you can find licensed professionals by working with the staff at the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. Find that information at https://www.pprbd.org/