After his sister-in-law woke up around 3 a.m. feeling dizzy, a few hours later Shabbir Ahmed’s 77-year-old mother and 18-year-old niece became so ill they both had to be rushed to the hospital. Ahmed knew something was terribly wrong. Both his mother and niece died from carbon monoxide intoxication from faulty heating equipment. Unfortunately, the one carbon monoxide detector in their building gave no indication of a leak, leaving residents completely vulnerable to the harmful gas.
According to a Chicago Tribune article , “Fire officials and workers from Peoples Gas have determined there was a leak in the exhaust system of the boiler in the basement of the four-flat in the 2500 block of West North Shore Avenue.” Although there were not large amounts of carbon monoxide gas leaking at one time, officials believe people in the building had been exposed to small amounts over a long period of time.
When fire officials first responded to the address, they checked the carbon monoxide levels, but found no indication of a leak. During the subsequent visit, paramedics checked the levels again and still found no evidence. Further investigation revealed that while a carbon monoxide detector in a room near the boiler had not gone off, high levels were found in the boiler room. The carbon monoxide detector had been placed near a window that was often left open, which was probably the reason it was not detecting high levels of the gas.
Although city code requires carbon monoxide detectors on every floor where there are bedrooms, there were no other working carbon monoxide detectors. The four-flat building is owned by Ahmed’s family, who indicated no recent work was done on the boiler. Ahmed’s family lives in each of the units, so no one outside of his family was at risk.
Building codes are put in place to protect residents from potentially harmful situations, such as a fire or gas leak. At Boudreau & Nisivaco , we believe property owners have a responsibilty to follow these codes and protect the safety of the people on their property. Premises liability accidents cause fifteen percent (15%) of all accidental deaths, second only to motor vehicle accidents. Our Chicago Injury Law firm is very knowledgeable about the law when it comes to premise liablity and we have the experience you need to get the compensation you deserve. If you or someone you know was injured at a business or residence due to negligence by the owners or occupiers, call us today for a free case evaluation.