CENTENNIAL, Co. - A Centennial woman says a wrongly installed valve in her gas range caused a carbon monoxide leak and killed two of her pet birds.
Micah Medway tells Denver7 that her pet parakeet and conure both died on the same night in early November. Her vet confirmed that they died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Xcel later confirmed the gas leak came from her gas range.
"Birds are so susceptible to gases and poisons," she said. "I was infuriated. I was livid."
Medway said she called a General Electric technician to check out her brand new range. She said the tech fixed a valve below the oven that controls the air-to-gas mixture.
"This one was almost completely closed, so the fuel mixture was off, and it was giving off excessive carbon monoxide," she explained.
Pictures show the valve at nearly closed the night of the incident, then after the technician left, that same valve was open. That would allow more air to mix with the gas, and at a high altitude like Denver, burn cleaner.
Since the simple fix, Medway says she hasn't had any issues.
Denver7 spoke to several appliance installers and repairers, who said they hadn't heard of an incident where gas leaked and killed birds. Most said that a majority of gas ranges are installed right from the factory without modifications. But one told Denver7's Jason Gruenauer that under the right circumstances it could happen.
Medway had advice for other gas range owners.
"Get your stove checked, see that it's adjusted property, and just to be on the safe side, better get carbon monoxide detectors," she said.
Medway did have a detector, but the levels of gas were just low enough not to set it off. She's since gotten a more sensitive one.
If you have a gas range this is something you can check yourself, but experts say you should not make any modifications or change it yourself and instead leave that to the professionals.