City Continues CO Inspections

OCEAN CITY – The Ocean City Fire Marshal’s Office this week announced follow-up inspections on roughly one-third of the multi-family units that fall under the town’s carbon monoxide detector law are now in compliance, although much is still to be done with the mandated element of the campaign as well as public education.

Since Aug. 13, the Fire Marshal’s Office has inspected 70 of the multi-family buildings, such as hotels, motels and condominiums, covered by the town’s carbon monoxide detector ordinance. Of those 70 buildings inspected thus far, 70 percent, or 49 of them, have either been provided with the required detectors or are not required to have them under the ordinance. The remaining 30 percent, or 21 buildings, have not yet been inspected.

Ocean City passed its carbon monoxide detector ordinance in February 2007 in the wake of a tragic incident in July 2006 that claimed the lives of two Pennsylvania tourists. Property owners were given a 24-month grace period of sorts to come into compliance with the law, which expired last February, but with two more incidents involving carbon monoxide leaks this summer the inspection process has been expedited.

To date, 34 percent of the 32,000 multi-family units covered by the ordinance have been inspected and found to be in compliance. In short, roughly 11,000 units have been inspected while 21,000 have not yet been checked out in the tedious process. However, many of those that have not been inspected have submitted the required certificates of installation to the Fire Marshal’s Office. Essentially, the exact number of units now in compliance with the law is a moving target.

The town’s carbon monoxide detector law applies to multi-family buildings such as hotels, motels, condos and other places of lodging, particularly those with gas-powered appliances, but does not cover residential single-family homes and townhouses that were built before the ordinance was enacted.

“New one- and two-family dwellings constructed after the law was enacted are required to have carbon monoxide detectors installed,” said Ocean City Fire Department public information officer Ryan Whittington this week. “The law does not apply to existing one- and two-family dwellings built before the law was put in place, although we certainly are trying to educate those property owners about the importance of them.”

To that end, while the Fire Marshal’s Office is handling the inspections of those required to have the detectors, while the Ocean City Fire Department is conducting a door-to-door educational program.