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Woman Credits Neighbors For Saving Her From CO Poisoning

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An image of one of the leaks (credit: CBS)

An image of one of the leaks (credit: CBS)

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Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSDenver.com/ACA

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DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver woman says she could have died in her apartment was it not for her neighbors.

Meagan Gizinski, 35, says she was poisoned by leaking carbon monoxide gas. Now there’s a dispute over whether her apartment failed to have the required CO detector.

Gizinski’s apartment is located in the 900 block of Garfield Street. Her unit is still unsafe after numerous leaks were found by an Xcel Energy inspector.

The leaks of odorless carbon monoxide caused the tenant to pass out. Gizinski was rescued by neighbors and never went to the hospital. But her story is a frightening reminder of the need for CO detectors.

Xcel spelled out the problem and shutdown natural gas service to Gizinski’s apartment after recording lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

“If I didn’t have good neighbors I would have died,” Gizinski said.

Gizinski was making a pot roast Friday night when she felt tired. She laid down and passed out only to be awakened hours later by worried neighbors who smelled natural gas. Safely outside, Gizinski had a pounding headache but was otherwise okay.

Odorless carbon monoxide is a by-product of combustion. Xcel’s inspector found CO leaks from the boiler, the drier, the range and the fuel lines.

State law requires apartments to have CO detectors if, like Gizinski, the renter moved in after July 2009.

“This apartment did not have carbon monoxide detectors,” Gizinski said.

Susan Mathews is the property owner.

“This apartment did have a CO detector,” Mathews said.

As proof, Mathews showed CBS4 the lease Gizinski signed acknowledging a CO detector was installed when she moved in.

“It was here when she moved in. What she did with it, I can’t tell you,” Mathews said.

Gizinski says it’s crazy to think she would tamper with a proven life saver. But passing out taught her to be more careful with carbon monoxide.

“No matter where you go you need to make sure there’s a carbon monoxide detector,” she said.

Two different neighbors side with Gizinski. They say their apartments never had CO detectors until they were given one Monday by the property manager. But the landlord insists every unit was properly equipped and that’s why it’s put in writing and the renters must sign it.

The case came just days after carbon monoxide filled a home in Park Hill. The homeowner was treated in a hyperbaric chamber to flush her system of carbon monoxide after complaining she was feeling sick.

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