North Tahoe (CBS13) — A Hollywood actress and her family nearly avoid a Thanksgiving tragedy after being exposed to carbon monoxide inside a rental property in Lake Tahoe.
Faris and her family were renting the home through a short-term rental platform, but officials say there were no working CO detectors inside.
“When people rent something out, they have an expectation of safety,” said North Tahoe Fire Chief Michael Schwartz.
Chief Schwartz says calls for CO exposure happen more often than you think.
“It’s odorless, it’s clear, and most people aren’t acute enough to pick up the symptoms,” he said.
Quick snowfall on top of vents and heaters makes these homes more susceptible to CO. On Thanksgiving that became dangerous for actress Anna Faris and 12 other family members, ages three to 70.
The entire family got sick to varying degrees shortly after arriving at the home. At first, they thought their symptoms were altitude sickness. Two family members left dinner to go to the hospital, which may have saved this family’s life.
“People were sick enough to leave the dinner table at a family meal and take themselves to the hospital, that would not necessarily always happen,” Schwartz said.
Days later the door and garage remain open at the house sources say Faris and her family were staying in to let it ventilate. CO levels inside the home showed it was almost six times higher than the maximum recommended indoor CO level at 55 parts per million.
It is state law to have a CO detector inside single-family homes, but there were no working CO alarms inside. Schwartz says rental properties aren’t held to the same safety check standards as other condos or hotels.
Rental property platforms are not responsible for making sure their hosts follow basic safety protocol. Platforms like Airbnb will offer free CO alarms to hosts with active listings, but they don’t personally check to make sure they’re installed correctly.
For properties in Placer County, an ordinance will change the inspection process.
“Starting in January, the fire department will be going into people’s homes who license their home as a vacation rental and inspect them for basic safety,” Schwartz said.
Faris sent this tweet saying how thankful she is to the fire department for saving her family. The picture shows the dining room table inside set for thanksgiving dinner.
— North Tahoe Fire (@NTFPD_) December 3, 2019
Chief Schwartz calls this a “fortunate” near-miss.
“Otherwise, I think we’d be talking about a Thanksgiving day tragedy,” he said.
Code enforcement has an open investigation into the home.