On Monday, the McDaniel family was found dead in their rental home in Toledo, Ohio. They were poisoned by carbon monoxide fumes during the night as they ran a space heater powered by a portable generator in the kitchen. Their landlord, Steven Snow, was aware that the house did not have electricity hooked up yet and gave Tammy and her 3 kids the generator to keep the space warm temporarily. Steven Snow is being charged with four counts of reckless homicide and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted for allowing tenants to live in these dangerous conditions.
“Each year, about 180 deaths in the U.S. are linked to carbon monoxide from appliances and small engines, like those in portable generators, running in enclosed spaces, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.” Several thousand more people are also treated for carbon monoxide fumes in hospitals according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CO detectors are necessary in interior spaces because the fumes are odorless and colorless and hard detect without them. Oregon passed a law requiring landlords to provide alarms in residential units where potential CO sources exist. There is no such law in Ohio however. The question remains if a property manager could be held responsible for harm caused by these deadly gases when a detector is broken or the batteries are removed and the resident fails to notify them.