State Law Doesn't Require CO Detectors

Monday, February 23rd 2009, 11:09 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa fire officials say that Sam's Club is not equipped with a carbon monoxide detector.  Under Oklahoma law, it's not required to have one.  The state doesn't require businesses or homes to have CO detectors.  But, because of incidents like the one at Sam's, officials are urging people to consider installing them.

02/23/2009  Related Story: Carbon Monoxide Scare At Tulsa Sam's Club

Dana Sydzia and her 10-year-old son were shopping at Sam's Club on Sunday evening when both say they started feeling sick.

"We were there for about 10 minutes, and I was feeling just nauseous, queasy, light-headed," said Dana Sydzia.

"My throat was kind of dry and it was hurting, and my stomach started hurting," said Anton Sydzia.

On Monday morning, seven more people reported feeling ill after a CO leak was discovered at Sam's Club.  Officials say carbon monoxide is always a risk at businesses, especially larger warehouse stores.

"Anything that burns that fuel, if it's unvented, there's a problem in the ventilation system with that, it can generate carbon monoxide," said Tulsa Fire Captain Michael Baker.

Monday's incident is the second time in the last few months people have been sickened by a carbon monoxide leak. 

In December, several employees became ill when high levels of CO were discovered in the kitchen at Charleston's.

Currently, 18 states require that at least some homes and businesses be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, but Oklahoma is not on that list.  A bill that would have changed that was proposed two years ago, but it failed.

Tulsa firefighters hope incidents like this one at least raise awareness about the dangers of CO.  But Anton, who says he's feeling better, is already well aware of how hazardous it can be.       

"I know it's a poisonous gas, because I'm in Cub Scouts and we learned about it," said Anton Sydzia.

The author of the failed carbon monoxide bill, Oklahoma Senator Richard Lerblance says there were concerns about the cost of installing detectors, but believes lawmakers chose saving money over public safety.