The debacle at the Sligo Association dinner dance last week could have been far worse than it even was. It could have been an outright disaster.
Luckily, there were no fatalities, though it was not entirely due to luck. The quick thinking of some in attendance, the large size of the room and the skills of responding paramedics also helped stave off the unthinkable.
Still, there were close to 400 people exposed to a deadly gas. Had the number been small, had this been a smaller private event, the potential for fatality might have been even greater because there would be fewer present to raise the alarm.
As it was, the room was filled with a big number, some quite elderly and even a child, daughter of journalist Debbie McGoldrick, who was present to be honored by the association. The authorities, be they local, state or federal, need to examine carefully the clear gap in the current code. A ground floor commercial function room above a heating boiler is an obvious place for carbon monoxide detectors in addition to the required smoke alarms.
We hope that all who attended the Sligo event recover fully. But some are going to be feeling very lucky, and not a little angry over a safety code that falls well short of common sense.