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Carbon-monoxide detectors selling fast in Summit County

Robert Allen
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado “-Carbon-monoxide detectors are flying off the shelves of Summit County, Colorado hardware stores in the wake of numerous poisoning deaths across the state.

“We get them in, and they sell out,” said Denise Perry, manager of Sanders True Value in Silverthorne. “I’ll bet we’re going through 15 to 20 a week.”

Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of fuel, including natural gas. Poisoning symptoms include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath and nausea, according to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.



The detectors, ranging in price from $25 to $69, can save lives.

Bob Oltman, sales clerk at Ace Hardware in Silverthorne, said the detectors are “most assuredly” selling fast.



Both Perry and Oltman said last week that their stores had ordered more of the detectors to keep up with demand. Carbon-monoxide detectors are available at Breckenridge Building Center, as well.

Earlier this month, a 23-year-old college student died of suspected carbon-monoxide poisoning at a Denver apartment complex, and four members of a Denver family were found dead Nov. 28 in an Aspen-area home.

Legislation was introduced last week in the state Legislature that would require detectors in new homes and rental properties. Relatives of recent poisoning victims spoke in support of the bill.



Heavy winter snowfall can increase the risk of inhaling the deadly, colorless and odorless gas.

Xcel Energy spokesman Joe Fuentes said that especially in the High Country, snow and ice may clog outdoor regulator vents on gas meters.

“It doesn’t take much … just to take a look to make sure your vents are OK,” he said, adding that chimneys and other vents outside the home should be checked and cleared as well.

Xcel Energy encourages natural-gas customers to have appliances and venting systems inspected annually to help prevent carbon-monoxide poisoning.

Routinely checking outdoor vents and equipment, and gently removing snow or ice ” or even leaves and birds’ nests ” can also help prevent poisoning.

“Carefully shovel around the meter and clear the meter itself by hand. Avoid using any sharp tool, including a shovel, and snowblower on or near the meter and piping,” Xcel officials advised in a press release.

Customers also are advised to check whether melting snow or ice is dripping on the meter from the roof or nearby trees, as this can cause blockage if the water refreezes.

If you smell the rotten-egg odor of natural gas in your home, exit immediately and call 911.

Xcel Energy recommends the following precautions for residents who smell natural gas:

– Don’t turn lights on or off or use any other electric switches.

– Don’t open any windows or doors other than the ones you pass through on your way out.

– Don’t use a cell phone or other phone while in the house.

– Don’t return home until a safety expert or firefighter says it’s safe to do so.

The Rocky Mountain News contributed to this report.


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