Surrounded by friends and relatives of recent victims of carbon monoxide poisoning, Gov. Bill Ritter today signed the Lofgren and Johnson Families Carbon Monoxide Safety Act into law.


The act is named after Parker and Caroline Lofgren and their children Owen (10) and Sophie (8), all of whom died while vacationing in Aspen over Thanksgiving, and Lauren Johnson, a 23-year-old University of Denver graduate student who died in her apartment in January.


“This past year, we tragically lost a number of people to carbon monoxide poisoning,” Gov. Ritter said as he signed House Bill 09-1091 into law at a Denver fire station. “My heart goes out to the family members standing here with me today. This legislation will help prevent additional losses by simply having monitors installed in homes.


“I want to thank the sponsors of this very important legislation: Reps. Soper and Court and Sen. Romer,” Gov. Ritter said. “Our state thanks you for helping to keep our residents safe.”


Effective July 1, the act requires that carbon monoxide alarms be installed in new and sold residential properties.


Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen or smelled and can be fatal within minutes of exposure. Most incidents happen in the winter, mainly due to an increased use in fuel-burning appliances. Roughly 83 percent of Colorado single-family homes use gas, wood, kerosene, coal or fuel as their major heat source, all of which emit carbon monoxide.


The new law requires that all new or sold residential properties have carbon monoxide alarms on each floor of the property. Rental properties will also be required to add carbon monoxide alarms when tenants change.


Gov. Ritter also announced that Kidde, the largest manufacturer of carbon monoxide alarms, donated 300 alarms to the Denver Fire Department to distribute throughout Denver.