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Furnace Repair Company Sued in Wrongful Death Suit

The family of a woman who died from carbon monoxide poisoning is suing a heating and cooling company in a wrongful death suit. Two years ago the woman went to visit a friend who was renting a house that apparently had furnace issues.

After staying overnight at the friend's house, the woman never woke up. The lawsuit names the landlord, a home-warranty company, the heating and cooling company and the owner of the heating and cooling company as defendants. After the furnace complaint was fielded by the landlord, the insurance company hired the heating and cooling company to fix the furnace. The heating and cooling company did not replace the furnace even though the company's technician found that the furnace's flue pipe connection and access doors were not properly placed.

The lawsuit alleges the heating and cooling company failed to properly review the ventilation system in order to make sure carbon monoxide gas could safely exit the house. The lawsuit further alleges that the owner of the heating and cooling company was not competent as serviceman in the heating and cooling industry. The owner had previously been put on probation two separate times by the owner's state board of examiners of plumbing; once in 2000 and again in 2009.

The lawsuit also alleges the insurance company failed to investigate the owner's background before hiring the heating and cooling company to complete the repair.

The friend who had been renting the house had been using space heaters to warm the house previously. After being told the furnace was in proper operating condition by the heating and cooling company, the furnace was used for the first time by the renter. Neither the renter nor his friend who came over for a visit woke up afterwards.

Source: Winston-Salem Journal, "Family Sues Over Death," Michael Hewlett, 10/2/10

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