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Carbon Monoxide Leak at Atlanta Elementary School Provides Alarming Warning

January 26, 2013

Graphic images this week on recent television news broadcasts depicted a parent’s worst nightmare – children strapped to gurneys and wearing oxygen masks being hauled away from a local Atlanta elementary school.

The school was evacuated when 42 students and 6 adults were taken to the hospital following a carbon monoxide leak. While few parents anticipate that their children will be exposed to carbon monoxide at school, defective or poorly maintained heaters and other appliances can result in the release of toxic substances that endanger children, faculty and staff.

Emergency responders summoned to the Atlanta school indicated that testing near a furnace on the school campus revealed dangerously high and unsafe levels of carbon monoxide in the air. The level of contamination was 1,700 parts per million, which emergency response personnel characterized as very high. While it is not clear whether anyone suffered serious injury, a person who suffers adverse health effects may have a right to pursue a premises liability claim against the school district, a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the furnace or a negligence claim against a business charged with maintaining or repairing the furnace.

Carbon monoxide is a clear odorless gas that can cause serious illness and asphyxiation. Hundreds of people die annually, and thousands more are injured by the release of this dangerous gas by fuel burning appliances and heaters. Common types of defective or poorly maintained devices that may cause carbon monoxide poisoning include water heaters, room heaters, furnaces and oven/stoves. Some carbon monoxide poisoning accidents also occur when burning charcoal inside an enclosure like a home, garage, trailer or tent.

If you are or someone close to you is exposed to carbon monoxide and suffers adverse health effects, the circumstances and conditions under which the exposure occurred impacts who may be liable for the injuries. Potential responsible parties may include some or all of the following, depending on the specific facts of your case:

  • Maintenance or service person (heating contractor)
  • Property owner or landlord
  • Manufacturer of a defective product
  • Builder, general contractor or sub-contractor that performed work not up to code

Exposure to this deadly gas is extremely hazardous because it is hard to detect and can cause death within a few minutes at high levels. Carbon monoxide exposure usually occurs when a device or appliance that burns kerosene, oil, wood, gas or charcoal as fuel is used for purposes of heating or cooking. When appliances, heaters, cooking ranges and other devices that burn these substances for fuels are improperly maintained or do not work properly, they can expose others to this dangerous gas that can cause fatal poisoning accidents.

Our carbon monoxide poisoning attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.