Help Me Hank: Lincoln Park apartment complex fixes its carbon monoxide problem

GF Default - Help Me Hank: Renter fearful over carbon monoxide danger
GF Default - Help Me Hank: Renter fearful over carbon monoxide danger

LINCOLN PARK, Mich. – A potential danger in a downriver apartment had a local woman reach out to Local 4′s consumer investigator Hank Winchester for help.

The carbon monoxide detector warned of danger but the tenant said when she called management, she felt ignored.

You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it -- but it can be deadly when you breathe it in.

More than 500 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year in the United States and we’ve seen plenty of cases here in Metro Detroit.

RELATED: Help Me Hank: Testing carbon monoxide detectors

When Crystal Mullins’ detector went off, she feared for her family’s health and safety.

“I have a one-year-old and an unborn child," Mullins said. "It’s very, very scary.”

Mullins lives in a Lincoln Park apartment complex and was recently woken up by the detector at 3 a.m.

When fire crews tested the area, the meter read 150 parts per million. Experts say at that level people have experienced disorientation, dizziness and could become unconscious.

Mullins said she was worried for her son.

“He has an itty-bitty body. Maybe I can handle some of it but he can’t,” Mullins said.

When she contacted maintenance for her complex, she said she didn’t feel like her situation was being heard.

“We’re just trying to live, you know? We’re just trying to make it by," Mullins said. "We don’t have a lot of people in our corner. This is what we have and this is what we have to work with. We have no other options.”

He came out after the fire sergeant on scene got involved. That’s when Help Me Hank was contacted.

Winchester went into the leasing office to see what he could find out while advocating for Mullins and her family’s safety. The leasing office said the problem came from the furnace in the apartment complex below hers and would be fixed that day.

The Lincoln Park Fire Department came back out within hours of it being fixed and the meter read zero. That reading gave Mullins some peace of mind.

Winchester made sure the Department of Housing and Urban Development was notified and was given resources to pass along to Mullins.

Michigan tenants have the right to live in a home that is in a good, habitable condition. If there’s issues with a repair, you have the right in Michigan to put your rent in an escrow account or pay for the repairs and request the cost be taken out of your rent. If you live in Section 8 housing and feel unheard, you can contact the Detroit regional office and as for assistance in working with your management company. You can contact the Detroit Housing Commission at 313-877-8000.

About the Authors: