Officials continue to investigate carbon monoxide leak in Glassport home
Glassport will cite a landlord for code violations at a rental home on Vermont Avenue where a carbon monoxide leak hospitalized five members of a family who moved there just days earlier, borough Council President David Kowalski said on Thursday.
“They are very lucky. It's very possible, if they had been asleep, we might have had a catastrophe,” he said.
Neither Kowalski nor other municipal officials named the tenants, identified as a 35-year-old woman and her four children ranging from kindergarten to high school age.
They were discharged about 3 a.m. Thursday from UPMC Presbyterian, said Kowalski, who lives across the street from the rental in the 800 block of Vermont.
He said an 11-year-old boy at the home appeared most sick and fell unconscious before emergency responders arrived about 8 p.m. Wednesday. The family came from Virginia and began moving into the two-story home this week, Glassport officials said.
Allegheny County property records identify the landlord as Yehudai Amit, who could not be reached for comment. He bought the house in January from Realty Choice Investments LLC for $49,000, records show.
Glassport building inspector Steve Volpe said he believes a company oversees the home.
Dov Ratchkauskas, listed as owner of Realty Choice, said the property was not under his management. Ratchkauskas is a principal with Squirrel Hill-based PGH Capital Management.
“This has nothing to do with us or anything that we're connected to,” Ratchkauskas said.
A building inspection on Thursday afternoon found that carbon monoxide, an odorless gas, probably leaked from a gas-fired furnace or a water heater in the basement. Volpe said ductwork near the furnace had rusted through.
He said he would recommend a new furnace and new exhaust-chimney liners be installed before anyone lives in the house again.
It appeared maintenance workers made limited repairs in the furnace area after the family was hospitalized but before the Thursday inspection, Volpe said. The family remained out of the home in the afternoon.
Under borough rules, Kowalski said, the home should have been inspected before the family moved in. He said the property owner failed to ensure that was done and meet other borough code standards for a rental property.
“They had no permits at all. No inspection, no nothing,” Kowalski said. He said possible fines are yet to be determined.
Kowalski left open the possibility of additional legal action against the property owner depending on the outcome of reviews by municipal authorities. Utility provider Peoples Natural Gas is looking into the matter with the Glassport Fire Department, Peoples spokeswoman Erin O'Donnell said.
She urged anyone with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning to call 911. The gas appears when carbon-based fuels such as natural gas don't combust completely, often leading to headaches, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting or convulsions.
About 450 people in the United States die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year, according to the American Medical Association.
“This should never happen, especially when there's children involved of those ages,” Kowalski said. “It's a shame.”
Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5676 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Government survey: More teens trying out e-cigarettes than real thing
- Rossi: Steelers rising fast in mediocre AFC
- Steelers offense learning to slam door
- Charity helps dozens of McKeesport area children in need get new shoes
- Steelers clinch trip to postseason with big victory over Chiefs
- Armstrong contributes to project to replace Kittanning retaining wall
- McKeesport Area student’s Project Christmas expands in 2nd year
- Munhall garbage collection rates to increase
- Pittsburgh mayor Peduto goes ‘Undercover’ for CBS reality show
- Steelers-Bengals game to start at 8:30 p.m.
- Pittsburgh police doubling up on duty after potential threats