Furious Mother attacks City Code Officers
A Sunbury mother has contacted Not The Item, incensed by what she read in the Daily Item today about “resident after resident” lining up to sing the praises of city code officers (Wednesday June 12th), and has asked us to tell her very different story.
Her son, daughter and grandson share a rental property on the south side of the City, which was inspected earlier this year by code officers Swope and Rhodes. The inspection, which she described as cursory at best, lasted all of 10 minutes. They reported no defects, but were supplied by her daughter with a list of things which she thought were in need of attention. However, the following week when a plumber arrived to take care of some of these issues, a very different picture emerged.
Possible Tragedy Averted
On going down to the basement to turn off the water, he immediately noticed that the water heater vent pipe had corroded and sheared off above the heater, and part of it was hanging uselessly from the wall. The water heater had been belching out poisonous carbon monoxide fumes directly into the basement area whenever the heater was on, and, it appeared, had been doing so for an extended period of time.
Look at the pictures. How could a trained person miss this? Well, apparently the Sunbury code officers did, despite looking around the basement during the course of their inspection.
Her son, daughter and grandson had been experiencing headaches, nausea and tiredness for some considerable time. Her daughter had recently lost the baby she was carrying. According to doctors, all of this could be attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning, and subsequent tests of her daughter and grandson revealed elevated levels of CO in their systems.
They had been extremely lucky and all of them could have died!
Apart from the speedy actions of the plumber who also installed a new vent pipe, possibly the only thing which averted a tragedy was the drafty nature of the property, due to its many ill-fitting windows and doors. However, long term exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can, in itself, lead to numerous medical problems.
We were told that an attorney is being consulted about this case, and also that neither Mr. Swope nor Mr. Rhodes had bothered to reinspect the property to insure that all outstanding issues had been dealt with.
When contacted, City Safety Officer Joe Bartello said he was aware of this incident and it was currently under investigation. He added that a full inspection carried out as per city requirements should take around 40-50 minutes to complete, which is why a charge of $50 is made by his department.
If any reader has issues with Sunbury City Council, then please use our “Contact Us” form to pass on the details. We are especially interested in code enforcement issues and inconsiderate use of chimineas and fire pits. Do not worry about possible retaliatory action. We guarantee we will publish no identifying information if anonymity is requested.