In the air — Carbon monoxide crusade: Duo's war against HUD

HUD homes can be deadly, the men say

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  • Thomas L Rodgers
    March 10, 2009 10:31 a.m.

    I am Thomas L Rodgers, who was contacted by the Conrad family for help as Utah State threatened to take baby Daniel. I consequently identified the CO! At first I was only asked to advise the parents on how to deal with Child Protective Services to avoid State seizure of their infant Daniel (& potentially all their children). As they lived 140 miles away and I was obligated in our Utah State Legislative Session, I could not see the infant or parents until 3 days later, until after they had been referred to our local Pediatric Hospital (where I had once labored in Pathology). As soon as I saw the infant and parents, I recognized the classic markers of environmental poisoning and including Carbon Monoxide, so I asked that ALL members of the family be tested in a toxicology series/panel including carboxyhemoglobin (for Carbon Monoxide poisoning) -- but was sadly ignored. So as soon as I finished that week at our State Legislature I drove the 140 miles to the (vacant) Conrad home. I immediately confirmed the problem as Carbon Monoxide poisoning as I (w/ training & experience) identified the short and closely spaced furnace exhaust and "Dilution" air intake configuration.

  • Father of Baby Daniel
    March 9, 2009 7:25 p.m.

    I must point out that none of you Tom Rodgers haters out there showed me what that pipe was doing up on my roof. Well he did, and I, along with my whole family are grateful to him for that. Rather than try to discredit, suppress and keep this information from the manufactured homeowners (for vested interest reasons -- or whatever), let's just do the right thing and inform all the owners what that pipe on their roof is doing. Then the homeowners can decide for themselves if they want their families breathing air from that pipe, or not. If they do not -- they can do something about it. This story is obviously hitting a lot of nerves. As earlier mentioned, truth surfacing on this is embarrassing and painful for a number of certain people.
    ...a word about carbon monoxide detectors...yes, get one...but beware...they can give a false sense of security. There may not be enough ppm co at the precise location of the detector to set it off, while harming family members elsewhere in the home. We know of one family whose co detector went off, only as the paramedics were carrying their dead child out.

  • Need attention and not news
    March 9, 2009 5:16 p.m.

    Dear need attention,

    You are correct that some news is good and some is bad. Some reporting is good and some reporting is bad. Good reporting verifies information and source before printing.

    If we wanted exciting news, let's just go to the mental ward of a hospital or a 1st grade class. There are a lot of exciting stories there.

    The story would have been very good if they would have left out Tom. The CO should be looked into and verified. How about a $20 CO monitor?

    The government buys cable converter boxes for everyone, I'm sure that a CO monitor is a better cause.

  • Truth is truth
    March 9, 2009 3:42 p.m.

    I understand the concerns of many about the titles that Tom Rodgers has as part of his name, but even so, if he had the title of just a concerned citizen the evidence of the carbon monoxide coming into the house is disturbing. From personal experience I know how quickly carbon monoxide can affect you. At my job site there was a small malfunction of a heating system, and even though there was plenty of air flow we all started feeling nauseous. It took two whole days to figure out what was going on and which heater was blowing carbon monoxide back into the building. So the effects of days and weeks of exposure are serious, especially for the very young and old. So despite who the messenger may be truth is truth. And we as good citizens should be concerned and asked the responsible agencies to act responsibly and fix the issue.

  • Rob
    March 9, 2009 12:55 p.m.

    Tom Rodgers, a patholgist?! A scientist?!! Deseret News (particularly Elaine Jarvik), PLEASE research your information before you post it as fact, as the above titles for Tom can't be any further from the truth. I have now lost almost all confidence in you as a credible news source. To all who read this, trust in those who are actually educated and experienced in their particular fields, such as doctors, and REAL scientists and researchers. The world is not out to get you. Doctors and the DCFS are here to help, not to destroy.

  • Anonymous
    March 9, 2009 12:38 p.m.

    I am not sure whether this story has any validity to it or not. However - when you put Tom Rodgers as the 'investigator' and informant for any story - you lose all credibility!

  • K
    March 9, 2009 9:22 a.m.

    Whether you are renting, homeowner or under subsidized housing you should have a carbon monoxide detector. They can be plugged into an outlet. It isn't something you need power tools or a hole in the wall to install.

  • Bountifulite
    March 9, 2009 8:47 a.m.

    I think this story is heavily one-sided and rather alarmist sounding. I'm not saying the pipes shouldn't be changed and that the government doesn't have some responsibility here, but what about each home-owner getting a decent carbon-monoxide detector for their own peace of mind? I don't know what kind of detector the article is talking about that doesn't sound an alarm until 400ppm. I recently bought a new detector that sounds for concentrations over 30ppm. I bought it at a local store for $20.00.

    Justin Credible - What exactly is the "Shrub" presidency, and what does it have to do with this 30-year old problem that has spanned several different administrations?

  • Needs attention
    March 9, 2009 1:26 a.m.

    If you don't like the story, then don't read it. That is what newspapers are for- reporting news whether good or bad. If everyone with a story had to pass a mental examination then there wouldn't be any news. Everybody has a passion, so stop being so attacking of people trying to support their cause! I'm sure if we examined YOUR mental health (Anonymous, Oxymoron) it wouldn't be as stellar as you think it is..

  • Father of Baby Daniel
    March 8, 2009 9:51 p.m.

    While this story coming out is very uncomfortable for people working in certain areas of government, traditional medicine and the manufactured home industry, I feel that manufactured home owners should be informed about what that pipe sticking out of their roof is doing -- so that they might take some simple, inexpensive steps to protect their familes. I applaud Elaine Jarvik and Deseret News for having the integrity and courage to run this story. They actually did a lengthy investigation -- have been working on it for months -- became convinced of the import of the issue. The assertions Deseret News makes in their story are further corroborated by ABC News -- who also investigated the situation and consulted with a number of experts. You can go to the ABCNews website and in their search window type Carbon Monoxide Danger in Manufactured Homes by Susan Donaldson James -- and you will see that assertions made by Elaine Jarvik and Deseret News are backed up by one of the largest, most respected news agencies in the world -- along with a number of respected experts.

  • Anonymous
    March 8, 2009 8:30 p.m.

    I too am very disappointed with Deseret News for publishing this story! I thought there was supposed to be accuracy in reporting. I have lost a lot of faith in Deseret News. You need to check your sources out more thoroughly before you run a story on them!! Extremely disappointing!

  • Disappointed
    March 8, 2009 8:09 p.m.

    Disappointed in the Deseret News for publishing this article and for not verifying their facts and the credibility of their sources. I have always enjoyed reading the DesNews...but will think twice now about its articles and their credibility and accuracy.

  • Father of Baby Daniel
    March 8, 2009 6:12 p.m.

    Here is some evidence. Just go to your county building inspection office -- or any county's in the country and ask them if they would let you build a configuration on a roof that places a fresh-air adder (into the living quarters) 3 feet away from the furnace exhaust pipe on the roof. They will tell you that you are insane because that is so obviously foolhardy and dangerous. Would you want any of your loved ones breathing air that was being drawn from a space right next to furnace and water heater exhausts? Go and look for yourself. Within 3 blocks of my home 15 out of 17 manufactured homes had that configuration. The two that did not were older than 30 years-old. Not one of those people realized (until they saw with their own eyes) that they had such a pipe on their roof. Who could ever imagine that the home would be built that way -- and then passed off as safe by both federal and state inspection officials? The solution is an informed manufactured home owner who can render their home safe with 25 cents worth of duct tape, as described in referenced websites.

  • Confused
    March 8, 2009 5:32 p.m.

    What kind of scientist is Tom? Is there any evidence of what they claim?

    What is the cost to fix the problem? I wish the story would have focused more on facts and solutions.

  • Father of Baby Daniel
    March 8, 2009 3:23 p.m.

    HUD approved home does not mean it was given away or subsidized by the government. The connection to HUD with respect to manufactured homes comes from the fact that manufactured homes are typically shipped across state lines, and therefore fall under the jurisdiction of HUD for their initial safety inspection. They are then issued a certificate of occupancy by a state trained and certified county safety inspector -- and their practice has been to ignore their own local safety codes allowing HUDs initial inspection to override. The bottom line is that millions of these homes have been now passed off to the unsuspecting public by both federal and local safety inspectors as being safe, for the past 30 years with a 3-foot separation between a strong power vent back into the living quarters and the exhaust pipes on the roof. I have no faith or confidence in the government ever doing anything about this. It is an embarrassment to them (both federal and state). I simply want all the mothers and fathers who live in manufactured homes to be informed; and to realize that they can easily render their home safe -- with about 25 cents worth of duct tape.

  • Justin credible
    March 8, 2009 12:53 p.m.

    Every health and safety issue was allowed to be ignored during The Shrub presidency because they were labeled an impediment to businesses. The more time goes by the more these type of issues will surface.

  • Anonymous
    March 8, 2009 11:47 a.m.

    To me this would have been a more positive story if these people had gotten up on their roof and stuck another piece of stack on their exhaust instead of beating up hud and wanting the world to come to their rescue. Sure, bring it to their attention, this is something that can be engineered out. It probably will be. But the sense of entitlement, that you get housing from the government and then are not at all responsible for it or your own betterment...that's wrong.