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Lawmakers advance bill to require carbon monoxide detectors in West Virginia schools


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The House Judiciary Committee advanced Monday to the full House of Delegates legislation to require — in public schools, private schools and day cares — carbon monoxide detectors in each area with a “fuel-burning heating system or other fuel-burning device that produces combustion gases.”

The requirement would be effective Jan. 1, 2019.

Delegate Andrew Byrd, D-Kanawha and lead sponsor of the bill (House Bill 4138), said it’s in response to the carbon monoxide leaks in Montrose Elementary in his county — which, according to the Kanawha school system’s communications director, had no carbon monoxide detectors in any of its public schools before the Montrose incident.

“I was approached by so many parents, you know, to look into this, and I was shocked to find that the code, that the schools were not required to have carbon monoxide detectors, and the one I’m holding in my hand, $19, is how much to save a child’s life,” Byrd said, holding the detector he had brought to the committee meeting.

South Charleston Fire Chief Virgil White said his firefighters detected 40 parts per million of carbon monoxide in the gymnasium/cafeteria on Nov. 15, and 60 parts per million there Dec. 11. Kanawha school system Communications Director Briana Warner said the Montrose heating unit suspected of releasing carbon monoxide had been repaired and turned back on as of Dec. 14.

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