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Multiple code violations at Aspen home where family died

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado ” The Aspen-area home where four people died of carbon monoxide poisoning on Thanksgiving weekend was later found to be in violation of several building codes, including one that led to the tragedy.

An inspection of the residence at 10 Popcorn Lane resulted in three violations, including one related to the installation of the snowmelt boiler flue.

Tony Fusaro, chief building official for Pitkin County, noted “reinstallation [was] required” for the flue.



The other infractions stemmed from modifications to a forced-air system and the installation of a gas log fireplace.

The work on the forced air system was apparently done without a permit, while the fireplace was “not per code,” Fusaro noted.



He made the observations Jan 28. and issued a correction notice Feb. 17. The home cannot be occupied until the corrections are made. The Aspen Times obtained the inspection report last week.

It is not clear whether the corrections have been made, as there are no other documents on file with Pitkin County that attest to the problems having been fixed.

A disconnected exhaust pipe that stretched from the boiler to a chimney flue enabled carbon monoxide to get into the home and kill the Lofgren family, according to the conclusions of an investigation by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. The Lofgren family was visiting the area at the time.



The investigation determined a polyvinyl chloride pipe, more commonly known as PVC, was not hooked up at the “elbow” point, where it was to allow the gas from the boiler to flow to the flue and out of the home.

The bodies of Parker Lofgren, 39; his wife, Caroline, 42; and their two children Owen, 10, and Sophie, 8, were found by friends in a bedroom of the home. The bedroom is two floors above a crawl space where mechanical equipment for the residence is housed.

The home is located about 4 miles east of Aspen near the North Star Nature Preserve.

The findings were turned over to the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in February. District Attorney Martin C. Beeson last week called for a grand jury to investigate the incident.

He filed a motion with Judge James Boyd of Pitkin County District Court that, if granted, would set the stage for a jury to look into the matter. Beeson said it was necessary to have an “independent body” decide whether criminal charges were warranted in the case.

Boyd would determine the composition of a 12-member, four-alternate grand jury. Chief Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin would also participate in the selection process. Mordkin would also oversee the remainder of the proceedings once the jury is seated.

Those proceedings would be closed to the public and media. The jury would be seated for a 12-month period, although it could be extended by six months.

Should the grand jury return an indictment, known as a “true bill,” the process would then move forward like a criminal proceeding.

whaupt@aspentimes.com


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