City Rentals Must Have CO Alarms

LOCK HAVEN — A close call earlier this year has led the a city in Clinton County to require all rentals to have carbon monoxide alarms.

It was January and several apartments above a laundromat in Lock Haven were filled with a deadly gas but no one, including the university students who lived there, knew it.

Samantha Buffington and her neighbors were dealing with the same symptoms and suspected carbon monoxide poisoning. Firefighters responded and discovered high levels of the gas. The students were taken to the hospital.

“We could have had 10 people who could have not responded to class the next morning,” said Lock Haven Deputy Fire Chief Norm Wolfrom.

So fire officials went to city leaders and suggested all rentals should have carbon monoxide alarms. City council voted in favor of requiring the CO alarms and now landlords have three weeks to install the devices.

“People don’t realize what happens with carbon monoxide, and it’s a silent killer, you’re completely unaware, for all we know we could have gone to bed and never woken up,” said Buffington.

Walker’s Hardware and Supply in Lock Haven has quite a few of carbon monoxide detectors in stock, with more on the way. The store expects quite an interest in the devices now that they are required in rental properties throughout the city, hoping to save at least one life if not more.

“Obviously it’s an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas so you don’t even know it’s there, so you get classic symptoms of the flu,” said Lock Haven Assistant Fire Chief Bob Neff.

One rental agency is wasting no time installing the devices in about more than 100 apartments it has in Lock Haven.

“The scare we had several months ago was enough for us to bite the bullet and get it done,” said Debbie Barner of HTD Real Estate Rentals.