MERIDIAN -- A young Marine's death, caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, is prompting change for the city of Meridian.

City officials are proposing stricter regulations for new buildings in an effort to prevent another tragedy.

The ordinance involves two changes -- first, the requirement of carbon monoxide detectors in all multi-family dwellings.

Second, prohibiting a certain type of gas appliance that's more likely to leak the deadly gas back into a home.

The city tells us the proposal stems from McQuen Forbush's death in November.

He was 19 years old when police say carbon monoxide leaked into the room he was staying in and took his life.

The tragedy at a Meridian apartment complex has city leaders asking for change.

Because of our heightened awareness, and unfortunately we had the fatality, we don't want to see it ever happen again, so we are taking the proactive stance, said Meridian Developmental Services Manager Bruce Freckleton.

Freckleton tells us one part of the proposal would prohibit natural draft gas appliances inside the living space, like the water heater inside the unit where Forbush died.

Freckleton explains those appliances don't function as well as they used to and sometimes allow the deadly gas back in.

In some cases the vents that are supposed to carry those gases off are actually back drafting and we can get the carbon monoxide in the living space, said Freckleton.

Instead, Freckleton says other, better models like direct vents or even combustion closets would be required to make sure carbon monoxide is getting pushed out of the home.

The other change would require carbon monoxide detectors in all multi-family dwellings, like apartments and hotels.

Freckleton says the other option would be for families to switch to electric appliances.

The proposal would require one detector outside every sleeping area inside a home.

Freckleton says as for the placement of the detectors, the proposal recommends following the manufacturer's instructions.

Currently, carbon monoxide detectors are only mandatory in single family homes and duplexes.

If passed, the changes would apply to all new construction, as well as renovations to homes built since January first of 2005.

There are hundreds of deaths every year that are CO related, and we don't' want to see it happen again in the city of Meridian, said Freckleton.

The proposal would be stricter than the current state regulations.

But, Idaho is already in the process of adopting the 2012 International Building Code.

It would also require carbon monoxide detectors in multi-family homes, as well as all commercial buildings and schools.

That would go in effect beginning January 1, 2014, throughout Idaho.

As for Meridian's proposal, there will be a first reading for the city council on March 19.

There will be a public hearing and a second reading on March 26th.

Read or Share this story: