Lawsuit seeks compensation for residents of Airdrie condo building following fatal CO buildup
A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the tenants and condo owners of a building in Airdrie is seeking nearly $16 million in compensation following a buildup of carbon monoxide in 2018 that killed a 12-year-old boy, left others ill, and allegedly damaged the building’s reputation.
“What happened specifically was that they put instant hot water heaters in all of the individual apartment units but didn't bother to hook a bunch of those up to the venting to go outside,” explained Mathew Farrell of the Guardian Law Group, the legal representative of the class-action . “The building wasn't equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide was building up and making people sick and First Services, which is the management company at the time, knew or ought to have known, we allege, that this was happening but they didn’t do anything about it.”
The carbon monoxide buildup in the condo building, situated in the 700 block of Willowbrook Road Northwest, claimed the life of 12-year-old Trai Schlicter. The boy was found unresponsive in his home on the morning of February 4, 2018 and transported to hospital where he died a few hours later. Emergency crews reported CO readings exceeding 2,100 parts per million within the building.
“The problems are fixed now,” said Farrell. “They’re fixed, they've been inspected and re-inspected, and carbon monoxide detectors are in there now.”
“The building is safe now but, in the wake of all this, it caused a lot of damage and hurt a lot of people.”
According to Farrell, the lawsuit is being filed on behalf of everyone who became ill, who died, or who was physically or financially hurt as a result of the mistakes made by the builder, Crown Shores, or the management company, First Services.
“We're talking about a lot of different problems here. We’re talking about people getting sick, we’re talking about everybody who had to move out when the crisis came in and the evacuations had to occur and they had to live in hotels and make repairs to their units at their own expense.”
“People were scared and didn’t want to live there.”
Farrell says some condo owners who rented out property lost tenants and struggled to attract new tenants, while owners who elected to sell faced a depressed market during the repairs.
The total compensation sought is nearly $16 million. “There’s a lot of people who were hurt,” said Farrell. “The defendant has done all of these people wrong.”
William Hardy has lived in the building for nearly five years and says it was startling to learn of the boy’s death and that the necessary measurements were not in place to detect carbon monoxide. “They came through and they changed a lot of things for but initially, when it happened, it was pretty scary.”
Hardy says the sense of security in the building has improved in the past year.
“We have an inspection (scheduled), I believe it might even be tomorrow, on these boilers and they’re doing annual checks on them now as well. Then they put in detectors that will detect smoke and carbon monoxide.”
With files from CTV's Ina Sidhu