Experts talk furnace safety after multiple dangerous situations caused by faulty furnaces

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WASHINGTON --  Saturday night in Fairfax County, nearly 70 people lost their homes to a fire that started in the attic of an apartment building.

Sunday morning, two people were hospitalized after carbon monoxide filled their home in the District.

Investigators said both life-threatening emergencies started with faulty furnaces.

Battalion Chief Robert Mullikin with DC Fire says furnaces and water heaters need to be checked every year, around this time.

“Make sure your flue is in tact, make sure it is burning cleanly, in other words, you have a nice blue flame in there instead of an orange flame,” explained Battalion Chief Mullikin.

While fire and smoke can be easier to detect, carbon monoxide or CO2 is known as the silent killer, it is order-less and cannot be seen.

“The biggest signs and symptoms are people not feeling themselves, getting a little nausea, getting a little dizzy,” said Millikin.

DCW50 linked up with a technician who was working on a furnace in University Park, Monday.

“It can get nasty pretty quick,” expressed Matthew Welch, senior technician at Thomas E Clark.

“One serious case, was a CO2 issue. The boiler was leaking and got to a dangerous level and luckily we were there to shut it off and fix it,” Welch explained as he grabbed his tools to head inside.

Fire officials and heating experts agreed furnace checks and maintenance are investments that could be life saving.  Both recommended all homes have a battery operated CO2 detector.