Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

CO deaths because someone cut off the exhaust:

I don't know if this link will post so anyone can read it.

Its from a July 7 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Online. A Contractor is being charged with Manslaughter for his employees cutting off the venting on a direct vent boiler to install a door in a garage and leaving it un connected. The owner turned on the boiler remotely with his Smart Phone and when he got there, the house was full of CO and they died.

<a href="http://www.jlconline.com/codes-and-standards/criminal-malpractice-or-animal-nest-problem_t.aspx?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=jump&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JLCNL_071014&day=2014-07-10">http://www.jlconline.com/codes-and-standards/criminal-malpractice-or-animal-nest-problem_t.aspx?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=jump&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JLCNL_071014&day=2014-07-10</a>


  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752

    I'm going to print this article and hang it around our shop. A horrible event, but a good reminder for everyone else to be smart, and never leave a system in an unsafe condition. I always encourage my guys to spend the last 10 minutes of every job just standing back and looking around the basement/attic/house/whatever. Sometimes it takes a relaxed mind to notice something that was right in front of you all day.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Old Timers:

    It isn't YOUR guys that you need to worry about, its the "Other Guys".

    The "Old Timers" (The old dead guys) always said to clean up your mess. To always leave it cleaner than when you got there. That you could do the best job in the world, but leave a mess behind, and customers will think you are a slob and did a crappy job. And they tell all their friends.

    You can do a job that isn't quite the way you wanted it to come out, but leave it neat, tidy and cleaned up, and they think you are a hero. That you did the best job in the world. And they tell all their friends.

    You save time when you police your area of work. You save time by not having to hunt through the ship to look for things.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Not on the CO

    Not on the CO issue but about leaving it cleaner than you found it. I agree 99.9% of the time, but I'm sure that you have worked in a hoarders house. Sometimes your own cleanliness and health outweigh the customers needs. When I worked for my first PHVAC company I was sent out to clean a drain in a home in an affluent neighborhood in Falls Church, Va. I had to thread my way through stacks of newspapers to get to the basement stairs, I then found the basement with about a foot of water because the kitchen sink had been backing up into and out of the laundry tub in the basement for god knows how long. I told the elderly lady that I had to get some things out of my truck. As soon as I got to my truck I took off! My boss, (the owner of the company) fired me and went out to fix it himself. needless to say I was rehired the next day and the elderly woman had to find another company, my boss wouldn't do it either. That's the .01% that you leave it like you found it. 

    Moral of the story: If you can't leave it cleaner, just leave it.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,899
    This needless death proves once again


    I'm glad that contractor is getting both barrels. He deserves it.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Bob Harper
    Bob Harper Member Posts: 1,040
    root cause analysis

    Crew untrained or improperly trained

    Crew unsupervised or ineffectively supervised

    Job not properly laid out before hand

    Job not post-view inspected by qualified inspector both in house and municipal

    combustion analysis not performed on ambient air

    no unlisted low level CO monitors installed.

    No training for homeowner on need to integrate low level CO as a condition for remotely firing combustion appliances or transmitting alarm signals such as via a 4-20 mA loop signal to an alarm, strobe and integrated telephone notification.

    Question: were there UL listed CO alarms installed and any word if they sounded? If alarm company sold and installed integrated home remote control system without proper CO protection, they are negligent. Ditto for dual sensor smoke alarms.
  • captainco
    captainco Member Posts: 796
    blame the nest

    If the job was incomplete would a permit have changed anything?  The intake was blocked with a nest and the air proving switch malfunctioned.  Will a partially blocked intake trip the air switch?

    The owner, even though he is dead, is getting partial blame because he told them to halt the work.  Therefore his death is not manslaughter?  

    Colorado has a law from 2011 that mandates CO detectors in all homes.  This was a cabin, does it count?  Does it matter?

    Birds nest or not, if the pipes terminated indoors, CO would have developed which is still probably the case; CO2 displacing O2 thus CO. 

    Contractor cuts flue pipe to furnace, furnace should be turned off period!!  Stupid, stupid, stupid. 

    Mechanic servicing car brakes but car owner says stop.  Car owner drives car from shop without brakes, wrecks and dies.  Car owners fault? NO!!!  Mechanic must never allow unsafe vehicle to be driven off lot.  Towing is okay but not driving!

    The inspectors in Aspen did a good job keeping that family alive.  Not Guilty because they were not trying to injure that particular family. 
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    My intreptation:

    It was my original interpretation was that no permits were taken out to move the exhaust. I don't know what the regulations are in California building codes are but where I was from, disconnecting gas vents is considered a "modification" and needs a permit and inspection.

    That all may be true, but how many times have I seen things taken out and re-installed by unlicensed and untrained workers with out licenses and permits.