A woman and her two young children, one an infant, were taken to the hospital Wednesday afternoon for possible effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, fire officials said.
The poisoning was not believed to be life-threatening, officials said, but the incident had officials cautioning residents to have their furnaces checked for problems as the heating season begins.
Firefighters were called to an apartment house at 346 Duane Ave. just before 1:30 p.m., Deputy Fire Chief Vincent Krawiecki said. Paramedics treated three people before taking them to the hospital for treatment. A fourth refused treatment at the scene.
The youngest tested positive for carbon monoxide in the blood, Krawiecki said. Equipment also gave high readings in the building’s basement, he said.
Downstairs resident Melissa Brown, who was not taken to the hospital, said she had been feeling irritable in recent days and on Wednesday had a headache. She wondered whether carbon monoxide was the cause.
“Just to be on the safe side, I called National Grid,” Brown said.
She did not mention hearing a detector going off, but Krawiecki said later one was there and went off.
Brown has a 10-year-old daughter, but the girl had been staying with relatives in recent days. She said she will now look for another place to live.
The carbon monoxide itself was traced to a plugged chimney, according to Krawiecki and National Grid. Firefighters later turned the case over to city code enforcement officials.
National Grid spokesman Patrick Stella said workers checked the equipment and “red-tagged” the boiler after finding the plugged chimney. The red tag means gas service is cut to the structure until the owner proves the problem is fixed.
With residents around the region beginning to turn on their heating systems, both Krawiecki and Stella recommended residents have their systems checked by professionals to avoid similar problems. They also recommended making sure carbon monoxide detectors are in the home and working, including in the basement. They are required on floors with living areas.
“We always recommend customers get their boiler or heating equipment regularly checked by a contractor to make sure everything is working,” Stella said. “And definitely have a CO detector in the home, because it does not have a smell.”