Times exclusive interview: Holcomb pledges state safety board will act on carbon monoxide detectors

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb responds to a question during an interview in his office Friday at the Statehouse in Indianapolis. 

Darron Cummings, Associated Press

Gov. Eric Holcomb is right when he says Indiana must get away from a hodgepodge of local polices pertaining to requiring carbon monoxide detectors in new residential construction.

It's why we recently argued the General Assembly should adopt a uniform law on the matter, rather than leaving each community to petition the Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission to require the potentially lifesaving devices in new home construction.

What Holcomb recently proposed in an exclusive Times interview could be the next best thing — but may not go far enough.

Holcomb is promising that the commission, which operates under his appointment, is working toward a uniform template of requirements and verbiage communities would have to meet to receive approval for such an ordinance.

That promise follows a recent unsuccessful attempt by Michigan City government to win approval for such an ordinance through the commission.

That failure came even though Michigan City used a LaPorte ordinance, which succeeded in passing the commission's muster, as its guide.

There's no question the governor should be stepping in to ensure a fair and consistent process is adopted.

We commend him for doing so.

There's also no question regarding the public safety merits of requiring carbon monoxide detectors in residential construction.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 2,244 Americans died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning between 2010 and 2015.

That's an average of 374 U.S. citizens killed every year.

Carbon monoxide is well known as the odorless gas that can build up in homes, often the result of old or malfunctioning appliances, that can silently kill occupants within a dwelling.

Within the governor's scope of authority, calling for a consistent template is the best he can do.

But the Legislature can, and probably should, take it one step further.

If the Indiana House and Senate adopted one law for all communities to follow, there would be no more question of petitioning for the rule town by town or city by city.

The word hodgepodge and public safety should never exist within the same sentence.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editorial Page Editor Marc Chase, Editor Bob Heisse, Politics/History Editor Doug Ross and Managing Editor Erin Orr.