Maine Carbon Monoxide Deaths Trigger Law Evaluation

As authorities continue to investigate the deaths of four people from Massachusetts in a Maine cabin last week, Maine's carbon monoxide detector laws are under a microscope.

According to the Oxford County Sheriffs Department, four young people from Massachusetts most likely died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a cabin in Byron, Maine, last Tuesday.

Sheriff Wayne Gallant said the victims were found in the cabin last Friday. He said there was a generator running in the basement, which was the likely cause of the carbon monoxide. He said there did not appear to be a working CO detector in the home.

According to Maine law, only dwellings built after 2012 are required to have CO detectors.

Maine State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas believes every home should have one.

"The reality is, any circumstance for people encountering carbon monoxide, I think they need an appropriate detector," said Thomas.

State Senator Bill Diamond, D-Windham, has been pushing for stronger carbon monoxide detector laws for six years.

"It's just senseless loss of lives without these detectors," said Diamond.

He said he would like to see detectors in all Maine homes and schools. A bill he crafted this past legislative session requires all Maine hotels and motels to have working CO detectors, and it goes into effect this fall.

Firefighters in Portland agree that every Maine home should have a CO detector -- but say even if a new law required it, it would be a difficult thing to enforce.

"It's really difficult to police," said Lt. Craig Messinger.

Messinger said he recommends a hard-wired CO detector for homes. He said people can get a detector from a hardware store for around $40.  

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