Mourners gather to honour 12-year-old victim of carbon monoxide poisoning

Mourners gathered at Airdrie’s Nose Creek Park Sunday night to honour the life of 12-year-old Trai Schlichter, who passed away a week prior due to carbon monoxide exposure. (Zach Laing, Postmedia Network) ORG XMIT: POS1802112131205604

Zach Laing / (Zach Laing / Airdrie Echo / Pos

Braving -20 C weather, roughly 50 people gathered at Nose Creek Park in Airdrie on Sunday night to honour a 12-year-old victim of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Trai Schlichter died last week due to carbon monoxide exposure from an improperly ventilated water heater.

“The recent death of Trai Michael Schlichter has brought much sorrow and concern to Airdrie and surrounding area,” said Niki Brandsma.

“We hope that this candlelight vigil will be a moment to draw the community together in a positive way, so we can show support for the family.”

At the request of the family, those in attendance wore black, orange, white and green, some of Trai’s favourite colours.


Trai Schlichter, 12, died after a carbon monoxide leak at an Airdrie apartment building on Sunday, Feb. 04, 2018.

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Airdrie Coun. Darrell Belyk spoke on behalf of the City of Airdrie.

“From my colleagues at city hall and everyone that is here tonight and those who couldn’t be here tonight, our heartfelt sorrow goes out to you,” Belyk said.

“It was one of our most treasured people — our youth — that was taken from us and hopefully the government will take an honest look at carbon monoxide.”

Trai’s grandfather also spoke, saying that the positive is that many people have stepped forward to purchase carbon monoxide detectors to ensure their homes and families are safe.

The vigil coincides with the launch of Project Trai, a movement to mandate the installation of carbon monoxide detectors to the same degree as smoke detectors are required.

“We are a few mothers that have gotten to know (Trai’s mother) Elysha through the surrogacy community and after hearing about the tragedy of Trai, we knew we had to act in a way to protect the children and families of Alberta and Canada,” said Brandsma.

More than 7,800 people have signed a petition that is to be presented to government officials requesting that carbon monoxide detectors be mandatory.

New builds after 2014 mandate that carbon monoxide detectors be present, but according to Brandsma there is no mandate for earlier builds.

An Airdrie RCMP investigation concluded the boy’s death was non-criminal, according to a news release Thursday.

The investigation determined an on-demand water heater was ventilating improperly, causing carbon monoxide to build up in the apartment.

Carbon monoxide in the Willowbrook apartment where Schlichter lived was reported to be 2,100 parts per million — almost 200 per cent higher than what is considered a level to evacuate.

The residential building, which began development in 2005 and was completed in 2012, was built during a time when carbon monoxide detectors were not mandatory.

For more information on Project Trai, visit www.facebook.com/groups/ProjectTrai.

Twitter: @zjlaing


The apartment complex in Airdrie where a 12-year-old boy was killed by a carbon monoxide leak on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018.

Zach Laing /

Airdrie Echo/Postmedia

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