Building Owner in Manitowoc Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Disputes Citations

The Manitowoc carbon monoxide poisoning that occurred in October of last year sent 17 people to the hospital. The Manitowoc, WI building affected was owned by Rep. Paul Tittl and holds The Manitowoc County Republican Party Headquarters, Susie Kay’s Cafe, and five apartments. Ten people in the apartments and seven people from the cafe were taken to hospitals for treatment.

Manitowoc carbon monoxide poisoning

Rep. Tittl challenged his citations after the Manitowoc carbon monoxide poisoning.

Four people were treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a treatment that is usually only used in severe cases. This treatment actually significantly reduces the risk of cognitive sequelae following the poisoning.

The Manitowoc carbon monoxide poisoning came into the news again recently. Rep. Tittl was issued three citations, and he is challenging all of them. Two of the citations were for smoke detector violations ($691 each) and were issued in November of 2016. He was issued another citation in early 2017 for having no fire extinguisher in a common area ($187), according to ABC 2 WBAY.

From the news article, Rep. Tittl made this statement: “We are challenging the tickets. This was a horrible situation that should not have happened. The smoke detectors in the common areas of the building were all operational. I later learned that the apartment’s detectors were removed by the tenants and that the fire extinguisher was stolen.”

Wisconsin carbon monoxide detector law requires any building used for sleeping or lodging purposes should have a carbon monoxide detector in sleeping areas, if it uses fuel-burning appliances. This is true for apartment buildings as well as hotels and motels. We have seen carbon monoxide poisonings in hotels, specifically in Niles, MI, recently. In the Manitowoc carbon monoxide poisoning, an operational carbon monoxide detector could possibly have warned people of the poisoning before they fell ill.

After an investigation into the Manitowoc carbon monoxide poisoning, a few problems were found that could have been possible causes. Some pipes coming from the boiler were blocked, and this could have affected the combustion. Improper combustion is what causes carbon monoxide levels to rise and to become carbon monoxide poisoning. A cracked heat exchanger was another problem listed in the investigation report. No water in the boiler tank was another possible cause of the Manitowoc carbon monoxide poisoning.

The incident occurred on October 31, 2016. Rep. Tittl said that he had the boiler serviced twice during October. The boiler was taken into evidence.When  equipment is improperly serviced, it can still cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Just like in this case, a missing piece of the puzzle (cracked heat exchanger, etc.) and an improper repair can cause people to become ill from the “silent killer.”

Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer sometimes because it is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. It can sneak up on you, making you feel sick with headaches, nausea, and confusion.

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