California Highway Patrol

Broken Water Heater Cause of Koreatown Apartment Building Leak

Tenants of a Koreatown apartment building are back home. But last week it was the scene of dangerous and potentially deadly levels of carbon monoxide leaking into the building, forcing residents to evacuate.

Residents were kept out of the building for several days while hazardous materials crews investigated. The cause was a malfunctioning water heater in the basement sending poisonous gas into the apartments above according to Los Angeles' Housing and Community Investment Department.

A tenant of the building told the NBC4 I-Team carbon monoxide detectors were taken down during recent renovations.

"I actually had one in my hallway and they painted my apartment and they took it off the wall and they never put it back on," said Lashawn Kennard, a tenant.

A representative for the building owner says the tenant did have a carbon monoxide detector. In fact, it was a dual carbon monoxide and smoke detector.

It isn't just the building owners' responsibility to keep everyone safe. State law says "the carbon monoxide device shall be operable at the time that the tenant takes possession.

A tenant shall be responsible for notifying the owner if the tenant becomes aware of an inoperable or deficient carbon monoxide device within his or her unit."

Missing Attachment A broken water heater caused a leak that prompted a scare at a Koreatown apartment. Lolita Lopez reports for the NBC4 News on Friday, March 16, 2018.
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