Aspen May Spend $50,000 Defending Workers In Carbon Monoxide Deaths

Building Inspectors Charged In Deaths Of Family Of 4

Aspen's City Council is being asked for $50,000 to pay for the defense of two building inspectors charged in the deaths of a family of four from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Parker and Caroline Lofgren, along with their children, Owen, 10, and Sophie, 8, died from carbon monoxide poisoning while staying in an Aspen home during Thanksgiving 2008.

Investigators determined a combination of mechanical, electrical and plumbing problems caused the leak.

A grand jury investigating the case charged now retired Aspen building inspector Erik Peltonen with four counts of criminal negligent homicide and four counts of reckless endangerment, according to court records. Pitkin County building plan examiner and field inspector Brian Pawl was charged with four counts of reckless endangerment.

Marlin Brown, the owner of Roaring Fork Plumbing and Heating, which installed the boiler and pipes at the home, was also indicted in the case.

City and county officials decided to pay for the defense of the building inspectors because they felt that criminalizing their work would be "a poor precedent to establish," Aspen City Attorney John Worcester told the Aspen Daily News.

Pitkin County is providing matching funds for the two public employees’ defense, the newspaper said.