On the same day when a killer with a gun stalked a church in Texas, an equally deadly foe sent at least 15 at an Iowa church to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning. Sunday November 5, 2017 was the day that 26 people died in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where about 20 additional were injured. In the Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning, at least 15 were sickened. The Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning happened at the Church of God in at 305 E. South St., Marshalltown, Iowa, a city of about 27,000, half way between Des Moines and Waterloo, Iowa. Click here for the Iowa Church carbon monoxide poisoning story.

The weapon in Texas was a semi-automatic weapon.  In Iowa, it was a  electric generator, set up in the Church basement. Today, Washington is full of calls for greater regulation of the first weapon. Unfortunately, the call to stop the silent killer is being lost in the administrative shuffle. We have known for as long as I have been alive that electric generators kill almost every month. There were 751 electric generator deaths between 2004 and 2014 according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (the “CPSC”.) The CPSC has been trying to put a stop to these killings since 2002, but have been ignored and blocked by the generator industry ever since.

Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning might have been stopped if this proposed regulation became law.

The Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning is just one more case of electric generator deaths. Despite this proposed rule from the CPSC, generator carbon monoxide deaths keep happening.

I testified to the CPSC this year about the necessity of these regulations. In that testimony I argued it wasn’t just about the deaths, but the lifetime of disability that could come from these poisonings. Probabilities are that the 20 injured in the Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning will have worse outcomes than the 20 injured in the Texas church shooting.

Iowa Church Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Preventable

These stories are connected. Both require regulation. Both involve dangerous products that should be banned. The Second Amendment protects the manufacturers of semi-automatic weapons from litigation. But there is no constitutional right to continue to manufacture deadly machines such as portable electric generators.

Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning is another case like those Gordon Johnson testified about in front of the U.S. Consumer Products Liability Commission with respect to the dangers of portable generators. Attorney Johnson was the only personal injury attorney asked to participate in this public hearing for the new CPSC regulation on carbon monoxide emissions.

This Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning could be the turning point against portable electric generators. It must be. The only solution is for those who survive and their family members to go after the manufacturer of that generator, the retailer who sold that generator. We know how dangerous these machines are. We know how to make them safe. It is time to fight back and put an end to this death and mayhem.

I called for this to happen last spring after a series of weeks where it seemed that each week there was another generator related death. The industry didn’t hear, because no one sued them over these deaths. I am going to start calling for this to stop again, hopefully louder. The civil justice system is the only solution to a problem that the CPSC has been unable to stop on its own.

For our earlier blogs: https://carbonmonoxide.com/2017/06/generator-carbon-monoxide-events.html

Hurricane season of course has added many events since I compiled this list in June. Who knows how many may have died in Puerto Rico. Check back. I will retell this story in even stronger terms than I did months ago, over the next week. It is time for the portable generator industry to start saving lives. “What industry is demanding is a solution to eliminate deaths.” Those are not my words. Those are the words of a leading manufacturer of portable electric generators. Let the Iowa church carbon monoxide poisoning be the event that forced upon industry to “eliminate deaths.”


Attorney Gordon Johnson



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