AKRON, Ohio (WJW) — Carbon monoxide detectors are now required in all residential buildings that have fuel-burning appliances, under a new city ordinance passed in Akron last week.

The new rule gives the city fire department and Department of Neighborhood Assistance the authority to inspect those buildings for CO detectors, just like they do for smoke alarms, which are also required. Landlords whose buildings don’t have them could face fines or criminal penalties.

“Simply put, this ordinance is about saving lives,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan is quoted in a news release. “If we can prevent even one death by ensuring CO detectors are required, it will be worth it. I applaud City Council for their swift action and support in this matter.”

The legislation came after a 66-year-old woman died and several other people were hospitalized in a carbon monoxide leak in October at Timber Top Apartments & Townhomes along Rocky Brook Drive.

The new ordinance requires the devices to be installed outside each separate sleeping area and on each floor, including basements, according to the release.

To file a complaint regarding CO detectors, call 311 (330-375-2311) or the city’s housing compliance office at 330-375-2366. Residents can also download and fill out a form and email it to HousingCodeComplaints@akronohio.gov.

“Carbon monoxide is commonly known as the ‘silent killer’ because it’s colorless, odorless, tasteless, and in most cases non-irritating,” Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Clarence Tucker is quoted in the release. “If you don’t catch the early signs of carbon monoxide poisoning … it’s quite possible that you may lose consciousness before being able to call for help, and then it may be too late. This ordinance helps us better protect Akron residents by not only requiring detectors in residential buildings but also bringing this issue to the forefront so we can educate residents about the dangers of not having a detector in their home.”

Carbon monoxide is most often created by malfunctioning appliances that burn natural gas or some other fossil fuel, charcoal or wood. Those can include furnaces, ranges, water heaters, boilers, room heaters and fireplaces. Electrical appliances often don’t produce carbon monoxide.

The gas builds up in enclosed spaces, causing headache, dizziness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Each year, about 4,000 Americans are hospitalized each year for carbon monoxide poisoning, and more than 400 die, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.