COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland County Senator Darrell Jackson introduced a bill this week that would require carbon monoxide detectors in all new homes built across the state.
The move comes after Calvin Witherspoon and Derrick Roper died in January at the Columbia Housing Authority's Allen Benedict Court property due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Jackson's bill, introduced in the Senate with Jackson as the sole sponsor, would require the detectors in newly constructed homes and newly remodeled homes, which were remodeled more than fifty percent of its original value after March 2019.
“I think if this can prevent one death, then it's worth it in South Carolina. I look forward to working with the Homebuilder's Associations and others. Because, I know there are people who are reluctant, as it relates to legislative regulations, but I think we all ought to yield to saving lives,” Jackson said in his office Wednesday.
The Senator added that his bill is meant to clarify sometimes confusing state, local, and federal building code.
“Then there would not be any questions about building codes for Richland County and Lexington County and maybe other areas,” Jackson continued.
WLTX has reported in the past that Columbia Housing Authority Director Gilbert Walker appeared to be confused over the Authority’s carbon monoxide detector requirements.
Currently, South Carolina building code requires carbon monoxide detectors in many residential properties, particularly ones that use a gas appliance or gas energy source.
Senator Jackson’s bill would require the detectors in every new home, whether they used gas or not.
The bill has been referred to a Senate committee for further review.
This is Jackson’s second bill related to the Allen Benedict Court deaths. His other bill, which would allow the removal of an entire housing authority board in emergencies, is also working its way through the same Senate committee.
In our investigation, we've uncovered previous maintenance problems in the units at Allen Benedict Court, that showed there were concerns about the units well before January 17th. We have a mountain of documents related to the case, as well as interviews with residents, and we continue to present new information each day.
You can see more into our probe below:
There have also been multiple lawsuits filed in connection to the case. You can see our coverage of those below.