Contractor calls for mandatory boiler inspections after fatal carbon monoxide leak
A Calgary contractor called in to inspect the boilers at an Airdrie apartment complex following a carbon monoxide leak that resulted in a young boy’s death is speaking out, claiming his team found major problems with the majority of the units in the building.
George Pinel of Instant Plumbing said two boilers were shut down on the spot and 80 per cent had issues “that needed immediate attention.”
Pinel is calling on municipal and provincial authorities to introduce mandatory inspections.
“That would prevent so many of these kinds of problems,” he said.
Trai Schlichter, 12, died in hospital after being exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide on Feb. 4.
The Airdrie Fire Department said the building on Willowbrook Road did not have any CO detectors.
In a release on Feb. 8, the RCMP concluded the leak was caused by a faulty water heater that had caused deadly gas to build up in the apartment.
WATCH BELOW: Trai Schlichter identified as young Airdrie carbon monoxide victim
Pinel said that a boiler functioning properly will put out about 100 ppm CO in its exhaust flue. He said the boilers he inspected were producing anywhere from 1,200 to 4,000 ppm.
“They were well above safe operating ranges,” he said.
He said testing of the intake flue on some of the boilers turned up between 30 and 40 ppm, which indicates there were integrity problems that could result in the boilers spilling carbon monoxide into the apartments.
Pinel said if properly maintained, boilers can have a long life – around 15 to 20 years. He suggested the boilers in this particular building were about eight to 15 years old.
The Crown Shores condo board released a statement Tuesday that said an inspection process spearheaded by the City of Airdrie is now complete.
“We will continue cooperating with the all corresponding parties to take the appropriate steps and comply with the city’s safety recommendations for residents and buildings,” the statement read.
The press secretary for the Minister of Municipal Affairs said in a statement that safety is a top priority of the government.
“Through the existing framework of safety codes, many standards and processes are in place to promote and enforce the safe construction, operation and maintenance of buildings, facilities and associated equipment across Alberta,” Lauren Arscott said.
Arscott added that all appliances are inspected when they are installed and that it is us up to the home or building owner to provide further maintenance.
WATCH BELOW: Mandatory inspections ordered at Airdrie condo where CO leaks happened
“The worst-case scenario is what happened out there,” Pinel said. “But there’s so many people that suffer from flu-like symptoms during the year – in the winter time. And it’s carbon monoxide from their appliances.”
Pinel said homeowners and building owners should be vigilant when hiring people to service household appliances – to ensure they are getting what they paid for.
“Demand to see certain things,” he said. “Just because they say they’re one thing doesn’t mean that they are.”
He said inspectors should be able to provide their certification and should have proper equipment to test for carbon monoxide levels.
“A lot of these Kijiji guys – they’re out there, they’re not licensed; they’re not certified. Some of them don’t even have their tickets.”
Global News reached out to the City of Airdrie. This story will be updated when we receive a response.