Landlords, building owners or property management companies that fail to properly install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors and warning systems are legally responsible for any deaths or injuries that occur.

Massachusetts Carbon Monoxide Detector Laws

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that can spread undetected in your home or attached garage. The idea behind carbon monoxide detectors is to warn the people in a home of the presence of the deadly odorless and colorless gas before it is too late.

Severe brain injuries and death are two of the most drastic outcomes of carbon monoxide poisoning. These terrible injuries often occur when the carbon monoxide detector has malfunctioned or is defective or a nonexistent.  To help protect consumers, Massachusetts has enacted consumer protection laws specifically aimed at reducing the number of carbon monoxide poisoning victims.

Massachusetts Nichole’s Law

A seven-year-old girl named Nicole Garafalo died in January 2005 from carbon monoxide poisoning when the house she was living in was filled with the poisonous gas because the furnace vent was covered with snow. After her death the Massachusetts Legislature moved fast to enacted Nicole’s Law which made the installation of carbon monoxide detectors mandatory in almost every home. Nicole’s Law also regulates other types of residential buildings that people typically do not live in on a permanent basis like motels, hotels, nursing homes, hospitals, and prisons.

Nicole’s law requires the following:

  • Carbon monoxide detectors must be installed on every level of the home, including portions of some basements and attics, in most residences.
  • On levels with sleeping areas, carbon monoxide alarms should be installed within 10 feet of bedroom doors.
  • Requires landlords to install and maintain CO alarms in every dwelling unit that has a source of carbon monoxide: Fossil fuel burning equipment like furnaces, boilers, hot water heaters. Also, a carbon monoxide alarm is required in buildings that incorporate an enclosed parking structure.
  • Large apartment buildings, where there is no source inside the individual apartments, may use an alternative method to detect CO near the furnace, boiler rooms or garage.
  • Building owners or operators are responsible for the care and maintenance of the carbon monoxide detection system. Every year they must submit to the head of the local fire department documentation of the inspection, maintenance and testing.
  • Building owners or operators must also prepare a written emergency plan and have it approved by the head of the local fire department. There must be an annual review of the plan with all employees including a review of all their duties and responsibilities under the plan. Policies and procedures must be developed to communicate the situation immediately to the fire department. There must be an evacuation plan.


Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances. The device should be free of debris and not be blocked by other items. Detectors should not be placed in dead air spaces or near windows and doors. A malpositioned carbon monoxide detector will fail to read the carbon monoxide levels in the room or home, or worse provide an incorrect assessment of the presence of carbon monoxide in your home.

Landlords, building owners or property management companies that fail to properly install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors and warning systems are legally responsible for any deaths or injuries that occur.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide or CO is produced by any fuel burning appliance that is malfunctioning or improperly installed. These appliances can be furnaces, gas range/stove, gas clothes dryer, water heater, portable fuel burning space heaters, fireplaces, generations. Additionally, vehicles, generators and other combustion engines running in an attached garage produce carbon monoxide. Also, operating a grill in an enclosed space, back drafting and changes in air pressure, as well as a blocked chimney or flue also tend to produce unsafe CO levels in the home.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms

CO poisoning occurs when Carbon monoxide builds up in the bloodstream. When too much CO is in the air, the body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with CO. CO poisoning symptoms feel and look like the flu without a fever. It also includes dizziness, severe headaches, nausea, sleepiness, fatigue/weakness and disorientation/confusion.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Victims May be Entitled to Compensation in Massachusetts

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed by carbon monoxide poison then call our carbon monoxide poisoning lawyers at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan today. We have a proven track record with over 35 years of legal experience. Our injury lawyers have successfully represented victims of poisoning accidents for decades and we are ready to take on your case today.

No matter where you are located, we are just a phone call away. Call an experienced Brockton, MA Personal Injury Lawyer to schedule a free no-obligation case review and consultation at (508) 588-0422 and you will have taken your first step to find out how best to obtain civil justice and compensation for your injuries. You can also click here to use our Free Case Evaluation Form.

We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation to help you understand your rights and the value of your case.

Our law firm is available to assist clients throughout Massachusetts, including but not limited to: Plymouth County including Brockton, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Wareham, Abington, Rockland, Whitman, Hanson, Holbrook Middleboro; Norfolk County including Quincy, Stoughton, Dedham, Weymouth, Braintree, Randolph, Canton, Sharon, Brookline, Franklin; Bristol County including New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Wrentham, Attleboro, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham; and Middlesex County including Cambridge, Lowell, Somerville, Newton, Woburn, Framingham, Malden, Chelsea, Everett, Arlington, Medford and Waltham; Cape Cod, Barnstable, Hyannis, Falmouth; Springfield & Worcester; Essex County including Lynn, Lawrence, Peabody, Haverhill; and the Greater Boston area including, Revere, Dorchester, and Roxbury. New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Westport, Dartmouth, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham, Lakeville, Norton; Cape Cod, Hyannis, Falmouth, Barnstable and the Greater Boston area including Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, Everett, Lawrence, Lynn, Revere, Dorchester, Roxbury.