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Carbon Monoxide Deaths Lead to Criminal Indictments

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The deaths of the Lofgren family in Aspen and a college student in Denver led the legislature to pass a law last year requiring most homes in Colorado to be fitted with carbon monoxide detectors. Because they had no detector, the Lofgrens were never alerted that a faulty hot-water system was leaking deadly gas into their vacation home. Now, a grand jury in Pitkin County has indicted three people—Marlin Brown, Erik Peltonen (both on felony charges of criminally negligent homicide), and Brian Pawl (on a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment)—in connection to the deaths of the Lofgrens, a family of four from Denver in Aspen during the 2008 Thanksgiving holiday, writes the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. Brown is the owner of Roaring Fork Plumbing & Heating, the company that installed the boiler and pipes at the residence where the family died. Peltonen, now retired, was the building inspector who approved Brown’s work. Pawl is a building plan examiner and field inspector for Pitkin County. Lofgren family members issued a statement (via 9News): “We hope that these criminal proceedings, as well as the imminent civil proceedings and the ongoing efforts by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, will send a clear message to contractors, and building inspectors, and even manufacturers of heating equipment to ensure that such senseless carbon monoxide deaths are prevented in the future.”

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