Bill Stems from Tragic Incident in Passaic
Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Marlene Caride, Joseph Lagana, Thomas Giblin and Benjie E. Wimberly to require more buildings to have carbon monoxide detectors received final legislative approval from the Senate on Monday.
The bill (A-4073) is designated as Korman and Park’s Law after Noel Korman and Alice Park, who lost their lives while several others were sickened and hospitalized due to carbon monoxide exposure in a multi-use commercial structure in Passaic. The building is home to nearly 20 rehearsal spaces and small recording studios rented monthly by a variety of local musicians and bands and part of an industrial complex off Van Houten Avenue.
The bill was unanimously approved by the full Assembly last month and now awaits final legislative approval from the full Senate.
“This tragic incident may have been prevented with the installation of carbon monoxide detectors,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Building owners should be aware of the presence of carbon monoxide and a threat to occupants’ safety. This bill will encourage the installation of more detectors in more buildings and, in turn, strengthen vigilance and safety precautions against carbon monoxide in New Jersey.”
“Carbon monoxide devices are as critical to ensuring safety in our buildings and homes as fire extinguishers,” said Speaker Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson). “In order to prevent the Passaic incident from happening again in New Jersey, we must require carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in all buildings with the possibility of being at risk for this gas. It’s the only way to protect more lives in the future.”
Currently, carbon monoxide detectors are required in hotels, multiple dwellings, rooming and boarding homes, and in single- and two-family homes upon initial occupancy or change of occupancy. The bill would expand this requirement to almost all other structures.
“Carbon monoxide detectors are safety devices that should be in every building with a heating system or product that has the potential of emitting this gas,” said Caride (D-Bergen/Passaic). “It’s a small, inexpensive requirement that can have a huge impact in the long run. It will save lives.”
“Buildings today are renovated or repurposed to serve multiple uses over time,” Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “A residential building one year can become office studios the next without changing the infrastructure of the building. This bill expands the law to protect occupants in any building that’s at risk.”
The bill would not require the installation of carbon monoxide detection devices if it is determined that there is no potential carbon monoxide hazard in the structure. Therefore, these devices would not be required in a building which does not have a source of carbon monoxide fumes.
“Above all else, this legislation encourages building owners to be more vigilant about the risk of carbon monoxide on their property,” said Giblin (D-Essex/Passaic). “Diligence in installing carbon monoxide detectors will help to prevent future tragedies. This bill aims to do just that.”
“Carbon monoxide poisoning is easily preventable with detection,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/ Passaic). “A carbon monoxide detector that will save lives should be required for all building structures that are at risk for the gas.”
The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.