Alberta mechanic hopes to prevent carbon monoxide tragedies with free inspections

A string of deaths across the province connected to carbon monoxide poisoning in cars has driven an Alberta man to action.

Automotive technician Jake Ranger has decided to offer free exhaust inspections for teenagers at his garage in Red Deer.

The father of three is from Violet Grove, a small hamlet just outside of Drayton Valley, Alta.

He was shaken by the deaths of teenagers Gage Bogart, 17, and Shaina Ridenour, 16, who were found in an idling car in that community just before Christmas.

When he heard about the deaths of three people in their 20s in a vehicle near Conklin, Alta. on Tuesday, he knew he had to act.

“I was young once too. I was really into cars. Guys were always cutting their exhaust off, making the cars loud. It sounded cool, but it wasn’t always safe,” he told CBC News.

“It scares me. I can’t imagine what the parents are going through right now.”

And it’s that thought more than anything that stuck with Ranger.

‘It’s not costing me anything’

Two years ago, he spent a month at the Stollery Children’s Hospital after his own son was badly burned in a fire.

Remembering that he could have lost him compelled him to step up now to help other parents.

“Just seeing my boy on life support for a week, he was only nine, and not knowing if he’d live; hearing about these stories it just bothers me so much to think about these poor families, these parent’s who’ve lost their children,” he said.

“We’re lucky because my son survived and recovered. But it just hit a soft spot,” he added.

“This is something small I know I can do to help out.”

While weekends are normally reserved for spending time with his family, Ranger plans to open his shop on Saturdays and Sundays for the rest of the month.

He said any parent concerned about the state of their child’s vehicle should give him a call for a quick inspection.

“I just want to lift their vehicle up and just take a look over the exhaust system itself, making sure that there’s no leaks, that nothing’s going to start to leak, rust out or anything like that,” he said.

“It’s not costing me anything, just a little bit of time, and maybe we can catch a few of these bad exhaust systems before anyone else gets hurt.”

Any parent who wants to have their teen’s vehicle inspected can contact Jake’s Automotive at 780-514-7371.

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