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Dozens of Miami condo residents hospitalized Tuesday after possible carbon monoxide leak. How often does this happen?

About 60 people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning and 22 were taken to the hospital after a possible leak Tuesday at a Miami condominium.

The possible leak was reported just before 5 a.m. at the Hemingway Villa Condominiums in West Miami-Dade, according to reporting from The Miami Herald. By 7 a.m. Tuesday, emergency responders were still searching for the leak. 

Additional details were not immediately available Tuesday. 

Country’s Leading Carbon Monoxide Law Firm 

In May, Founder and Managing Partner, Ira Leesfield, and Leesfield & Partners Trial Lawyer, Evan Robinson, penned an article calling carbon monoxide poisoning “A Silent Danger.” Incidents of people being injured by breathing in the colorless and odorless gas happen more often than one might think, the attorneys said in the article, especially in public accommodations

Data from the Centers for Disease Control states that every year 400 Americans die from accidentally breathing in carbon monoxide, which reduces the body’s ability to carry oxygen. Over 100,000 people visit the emergency room after breathing in the gas and 140,000 are hospitalized every year. The gas can leak from broken or improper maintenance of appliances like water heaters, generators, and HVAC systems. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and or vomiting. 

 In 2008, Mr. Leesfield was among lawyers who spoke out about the need for carbon monoxide safety and paved the way for legislation in Florida, the first of its kind in the state. The law, passed that same year, mandated that any new construction built after July 1, 2008, with a fireplace, fossil-fuel-burning heater, or an attached garage must have a carbon monoxide detector within 10 feet of each sleeping room.

In 2023, Leesfield & Partners secured an eight-figure settlement on behalf of a couple who were vacationing in a foreign country and were exposed to the lethal gas. Another case handled by the law firm resulted in $11,750,000 on behalf of a woman injured from carbon monoxide poisoning at a resort. Leesfield & Partners also handled a case that got national attention including reporting in the Washington Post and The New York Times involving an Iowa family who were staying at a hotel in Key West when carbon monoxide leaking into their room from an improperly maintained boiler room roof vent. The vent was damaged from Hurricane Wilma and attorneys discovered that the hotel failed to bring in a licensed technician to inspect and repair the damages. Six days after the family’s ordeal in the same room, a man and his father also breathed in the gas leaking into the room from the vent.  

How to Begin Building a Claim?

Building a personal injury or wrongful death case can be emotionally draining and taxing for family members and loved ones, but it is crucial to preserve evidence of any kind so that they may be used in the case. These documents can include hospital records, maintenance and inspection records for the faulty appliances, any building plans and blueprints. Perhaps the most important pieces of evidence in carbon monoxide poisoning cases include ambient air readings which can be obtained from the local fire department that responded to the call, carboxyhemoglobin levels to assess the amount of carbon monoxide present in a victim’s blood, and neuroimaging results to show the extent of the damage to the victim from unknowingly breathing in the gas.

At-Home Safety Tips:

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home.
  • Appliances such as dryers, water heaters, and gas stoves should be inspected by a professional annually. 
    • Some of the things to check for include: ensuring that the appliances are properly vented and are free from rust or corrosion. 
  • In South Florida, where hurricanes have been known to leave entire blocks without power for weeks on end, homeowners should make sure not to use their portable generators in enclosed spaces like a garage. All portable generators should be used in well-ventilated areas and be kept away from doors, windows and vents. 
  • Keep air ducts and ventilators clean and unobstructed to maintain proper ventilation.
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