Fire crews in North Tahoe say a vacationing family avoided a major tragedy over Thanksgiving weekend as their short-term rental filled with poisonous carbon monoxide gas. All 13 people survived the incident, including actress Anna Faris, despite the absence of a single carbon monoxide detector.
I’m not quite sure how to express gratitude to the north Lake Tahoe fire department- we were saved from carbon monoxide- it’s a stupidly dramatic story but I’m feeling very fortunate pic.twitter.com/zqsW77Tda0— Anna Faris (@AnnaKFaris) November 30, 2019
Guests began noticing symptoms shortly after arriving at the home. Two people went to a local hospital for treatment, and authorities were alerted after doctors diagnosed carbon monoxide poisoning.
One other person went to another hospital for treatment, and nine people were treated at the scene. Placer County is investigating the incident and hasn't yet determined a cause.
The home in the Dollar Point neighborhood near Tahoe City had levels more than five times what's considered safe for indoor Carbon Monoxide concentrations, and that was after airing out the house. Near the furnace, it was nearly 50 times higher.
But had there been alarms, as is required by law, the guests would have been alerted to the deadly gas.
"Landlords have an absolute affirmative responsibility to provide a safe, inhabitable environment," said Skip Walker, who has inspected thousands of homes in the Bay Area.
He says specific rules vary by city and county, but California does have overriding statewide requirements, too.
Placer County, where the Tahoe incident happened, will begin inspecting short-term rentals starting January 1 as part of a safety and nuisance ordinance that has been in the works for months. Rentals managed by individuals will be inspected for compliance with safety regulations every three years, while those controlled by a management company will be inspected every five years.
"We are working with the local fire departments in the Tahoe Area to do inspections as a part of their requirement to hold a certificate to rent their home," said District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson.
The North Tahoe Fire Protection District says these gas poisonings are common, and recommends traveling with your own detectors when staying at a short-term rental.
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