SPOKANE, Wash. — The owner of a Spokane apartment building where residents suffered carbon monoxide poisoning could be cited and fined, the city told KREM on Tuesday.
City spokesperson Marlene Feist said the Fire Marshal will inspect the apartment building at 8 S. Magnolia Street for compliance with fire code. If deficiencies are found, the building owner could be cited and fined, she said.
Feist added that the building manager provided vouchers for residents to stay in hotel rooms or other accommodations while repairs are made.
Tenants said on Monday that management gave them $300 to stay at a hotel for a few days last week. Many of them said they decided to just come back after the costs became more than that.
Two adults and one child were taken to the hospital after high carbon monoxide levels were found in apartments within the building on Monday.
Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer says the apartment building at 8 S. Magnolia Street, near the intersection of Sprague and Magnolia, was evacuated around 7:45 a.m. There are four units within the building.
Firefighters discovered the high levels of carbon monoxide on the second floor of the building after people reported feeling sick on Monday, Schaeffer said.
Tenants told crews on scene that Avista pulled power from the building last week because electrical standards were not up to code. Power will not be restored to the building until it meets standards.
Avista confirmed that power had been shut off to the building, but due to customer privacy, a spokesperson said they are unable to provide specifics about why.
According to Schaeffer, residents were using three generators that were on the roof near the unit's windows to power portable space heaters and other electronic devices. He said extension cords were run throughout the second floor to accommodate the needs of tenants.
The exhaust from the generators vented back into the cracked windows, causing increased levels of dangerous carbon monoxide to accumulate, Schaeffer said.
The management company and after-hours maintenance line have not returned calls. Spokane Fire has tagged the building as uninhabitable until it is inspected and approved for occupancy.
Washington state law requires carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in new residences. As of Jan. 1, 2013, carbon monoxide alarms are required in existing apartments, condominiums, hotels, motels, and single-family residences, with some exceptions.
Fire department leaders said the alarms within the building did not have batteries, which is prompting additional investigation from fire marshals on Monday. .