In 2012, an 18-year-old Marine died of carbon monoxide poisoning in an apartment in Idaho. There  is a lawsuit pending over the death of McQuen Forbush. And information reported last week by the Idaho Statesman may help the plaintiffs in that case.

The newspaper got a-hold of internal documents from the former property management company for the Sagecrest Apartments, the garden apartment complex in Meridian where Forbush died. And that report said that there had been prior problems with carbon monoxide leaks at Sagecrest, which apparently didn’t adequately address the issue.

Forbush died Nov. 10, while his girlfriend Breanna Halowell was hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning and survived.

But about a year and a half before that, on July 28, 2011, First Rate Property Management warned Sagecrest that two dozen water heaters were creating high carbon monoxide levels, according to the Idaho Statesman. An attached plumber’s report said the problem needed to be addressed, otherwise tenants could “suffer health problems or death.”

The property maintenance supervisor actually distributed carbon monoxide detectors and warning letters to the apartments that had the high CO levels, the Idaho Statesman reported.

Nobody seems to know, however, if the water heaters in the apartment where Forbush and his girlfriend had been staying among those cited in 2011.

Most of the apartment units had washer and dryer units in a closet with a water heaters, a dangerous situation since lint from the dryer can clog the filter on the water heaters, preventing venting, the Idaho Statesman reported.

The wrongful death suit filed by Forbush’s fanily named the apartment owner, the property owners’ association, the property manager and the water heater designer and maker.

In an interesting note, the contractor on the apartment complex in May filed a tort claim against Meridian, charging that the city had approved plans for the property and inspected it, the Idaho Statesman reported. That review and the inspection was “grossly negligent,” the claim alleges.








Maybe now their surviving relatives will have some peace.

In 2008 an entire family that had won a stay at a luxurious mansion in Aspen died of carbon monoxide poisoning at the place. The victims were Parker Lofgren, 39, Caroline Lofgren, 42, and their children Owen, 10, and Sophie, 8.

On Thursday, a settlement was reached in the lawsuit brought by their families, according to the Aspen Daily News. There terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Several defendants had previously reached settlements in the case.

The Lofgren family died when a boiler that heated the hot water and snow-melt systems in the mansion where they were staying leaked carbon monoxide throughout the house. The boiler had been improperly installed, the suit had charged, and the mansion didn’t have a carbon monoxide detector, the Daily News reported.

The house had a state-of-the-art fire and burglar alarm system, but builders opted not to spend $600 to install hardwired carbon monoxide detectors, according to the local newspaper.

In 2010 the Lofgren relatives filed a wrongful death suit in Denver federal court, naming a host of defendants — many of them builders — in the action. The case was later sent to District Court in Denver.

There had been criminal charges filed against two ex-buildings inspectors who gave the mansion approvals and a plumbing and heating contractor who put in the boiler. But those charges were dismissed.

The litigation was filed by Parker Lofgren’s mother, Jean Rittenour of Portland, Ore., and Caroline Lofgren’s father and sister, Frederick Feuerbach of Lenox, Mass., and Hildy Feuerbach of Rockport, Mass., according to the Daily News.

The Feuerbach family has been crusading for legislation across the country to require residences to have carbon monoxide detectors, the local paper reported. With their lobbying, such laws were passed in Colorado, Maine, Oregon and Washington.

The case also brought attention to Colorado’s wrongful death laws, which don’t give grandparents of victims broad right to sue. In the Lofgren case, the plaintiffs could only seek damages for the deaths of Parker and Caroline Lofgren, not the couple’s two children, according to the Daily News.

Dozens of patrons at an Ohio bowling alley were evacuated and treated for carbon monoxide poisoning Thursday, according to The Akron Beacon Journal.

Firefighters were called to Sto-Kent Family Entertainment, a bowling alley in Stow, Ohio, shortly before noon after a woman passed out there, the newspaper reported.

She was a member of the Stow Parks and Recreation senior bowling league, and was conscious by the time responders arrived at the scene. When firefighters tested for carbon monoxide, the level was 350 parts per million, compared to what would be a normal reading of 15 parts per millions, The Beacon Journal reported.

The potentially lethal gas had taken its toll. An area was set up outside the bowling area where 30 to 35 people were treated for exposure to the carbon monoxide, whose source wasn’t known.

Ambulances transported 27 people to local hospital, according to the newspaper.


When I heard that one of the stars of MTV’s reality show “Buckwild” had been found dead with two other men in their vehicle, I figured they were all victims of carbon monoxide poisoning.

And although as of late Monday authorities still hadn’t released a cause of death for the trio, I’m still betting it was from CO, not much of a leap when you know the details of how Shain Gandee, 21, was found.

The bodies of Shain, his uncle David Gandee, 48, and Donald Robert Myers, 27, were discovered in a Ford Bronco on a dirt road in Sissonville, W.Va., according to Fox News.

That  story quoted Kanawha County authorities who said that the Bronco’s muffler was submerged in mud, likely meaning that any exhaust pipe was below the surface, as well.

With the muffler and exhaust pipe plugged up with mud, the Bronco’s exhaust likely backed into the vehicle, filling it with lethal carbon monoxide.

I’ve written about several fatal accidents that were quite similar to this, when off-road “mudding” trips ended in tragedy.

If I am right about the cause of Gandee’s death, then the only good thing about it is that it provides a teachable moment. The youths who watched “Buckwild” and will read about his death will learn about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, and how a blocked exhaust pipe could end in death.

The three victims, according to the Fox News story, were last seen alive Sunday afternoon at a bar. They said they were going to do some off-road driving.


Seven Lansing, Mich., residents suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning Wednesday were flown to Grand Rapids to undergo treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

Lansing firefighters were summoned to a house on Tenny Street early Wednesday morning after several residents said they felt sick. The responders found high levels of carbon monoxide, 300 parts per million compared with the normal reading of 10 parts per million, The Press reported.

Consumers Energy workers were called to the scene, and they discovered that the home’s furnace had a crack in its exhaust vent and was the source of the carbon monoxide leak. The house’s residents said that they had the furnace repaired the day before, Tuesday, according to The Press.

I’d ask for a refund for that work if I lived in that house.

Responders evacuated the residents and brought them to a local hospital.

Two housekeepers at a Chattanooga, Tenn., hotel had to be hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning Friday, according to WDEF-TV.

The incident happened at the Hixson Holiday Inn Express, where the housekeepers where in the basement when they began to feel flu-like symptoms, according to the TV station. The local fire department blamed the carbon monoxide leak on bad work done by someone who fixed a broken water heater.

A Chattanooga fire official said that the worker disconnected an exhaust pipe on the broken water heater, and then two working water heaters took in that exhaust and spewed it out into the hotel, WDEF reported.

The Holiday Inn Express doesn’t have carbon monoxide detectors, nor does it have to under state law. Effective Jan. 2, only new hotels or those undergoing renovation have to install the detectors, according to WDEF.

The family of a young Marine who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his girlfriend’s apartment in Meridian, Idaho, has filed a lawsuit over his death, according to KTVB-TV.

McQuen Forbush, 18, died in November of the lethal gas, which leaked from a water heater at the apartment complex.

Now his family is suing a number of defendants — including the owners of the Sagecrest apartment complex, First Rate Property Management, Parkcenter Plumbing and the water heater’s maker — for wrongful death, negligence and personal injury, KTVB reported.

The lawsuit alleges that Sagecrest knew there was a dangerous problem with its water heaters but didn’t address the issue, according to KTVB.

Last week two people died of carbon monoxide in Fresno, Calif., part of a surge of such poisoning cases during the cool weather in the valley, according to KFSN-TV.

Andre Benoit and Michal McClosky were carbon monoxide fatalities after they used a generator inside a warehouse, according to the TV station. Another woman was taken to Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in critical condition after being exposed to the deadly fumes.

Fresno has seen an upswing in carbon monoxide poisonings, Dr. William Dominic, head of CRMC’s Leon S. Burn Center, told KFSN. That center has treated 13 people for carbon monoxide poisoning since November, a jump up from the typical four patients it usually treats each year, according to KFSN.

Dominic pointed out that the less affluent are sometimes more vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning because of their inadequate homes or apartments. They may have poor or no heat, and therefore turn to an open fire or a barbeque grill inside to keep warm.

Sources of heat like a grill emit carbon monoxide, which essentially prevents human tissue from getting oxygen. And in a residence without ventilation, that carbon monoxide can reach lethal levels.

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A former pilot, who suffered traumatic brain injury from carbon monoxide poisoning at an Embassy Suites hotel in California, has filed over the incident, according to Inside Bay Area’s website.

California has a carbon monoxide detector law that could have prevented the man’s injuries. But, after lobbying by the hotel industry,  that law won’t go into effect until 2016 for hotels.

Robert McNamara, 58, of Bakersfield and his wife are suing the hotel in Burlingame, Calif., for negligence. The suit was filed in San Mateo Superior Court.

McNamara was sent to the hospital after being discovered unconscious in his hotel room, and it was ultimately determined that he was suffering from severe carbon monoxide poisoning.

At the time of McNamara’s CO poisoning, under the law hotels didn’t have to install carbon monoxide detectors, according to Inside Bay Area. Such a law will not go into effect until 2016, as ridiculous as that is.

McNamara is in rehab and sustained severe brain injuries from the carbon monoxide. He was at the Embassy Suites hotel last November for his job with Occidental Petroleum Corp. His colleagues got worried when he didn’t appear for a meeting, and a hotel worker found him unconscious.

Initially, doctors weren’t sure if carbon monoxide was the cause of McNamara’s illness. But once they determined that it was, they informed authorities. Firefighters went to the hotel and found high levels of carbon monoxide throughout the building, with the levels in McNamara’s room were astronomical, according to Inside Bay Area.

Hundreds of guests were evacuated from the hotel, and firefighters determined that a malfunctioning boiler was the source of the carbon monoxide leak.

As Inside Bay Area explained, a law mandating carbon monoxide detectors in most multi-unit dwellings in California went into effect the start of this year. Although it initially was supposed to govern hotels and motels, the California Hotel & Lodging Association had that delayed by three years.

The reason, the group’s head told Inside Bay Area, was to avoid having alarms be installed a second time due to building code changes expected in 2014.

But Rep. Alan Lowenthal, the ex-state lawmaker and now a congressman who sponsored the law, blasted hotels for not having CO detectors.

If someone dies in a Cali hotel of carbon monoxide poisoning in the next three years, whose hands will their blood be on?

A word to the wise for hotel owners: Why don’t you just install carbon monoxide detectors, whether the law requires you to or not?

In the latest incident involving a carbon monoxide leak at a hotel, on Wednesday more than 70 people had to be evacuated from a Virginia Beach, Va., hotel because of this deadly, odorless gas, according to

It all happened at the Homewood Suites on Cleveland Street, as guests and employees were sent to another local hotel when firefighters came to scene at 10 p.m.

They found high levels of carbon monoxide on a number of floors of the six-story hotel, and traced the leak to a natural gas heater on the building’s roof, reported. That heater warmed the hotel’s common areas.

Firefighters made sure that the gas was out of the hotel, a process that took about three hours, and the place was opened up again, according to

The local fire chief said that the Homewood Suites doesn’t have carbon monoxide detectors because they were not mandated by law when it was built, reported. Under the law, just buildings built since 2009 must install carbon monoxide alarms.

Hotel owner, if you want to save yourself some legal fees defending yourself from a lawsuit, put in the CO detectors. More on that in my next blog.