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Heat and air officials give tips on how to stay safe after Winston-Salem fire sends father, son to hospital

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A house fire that sent a father and son to the hospital Thursday was sparked when an oil furnace in the basement malfunctioned, the family tells FOX8.

The family has lived at the home for nearly two decades and now Red Cross is helping them find somewhere else to stay as they recover.

The mother and grandmother are reportedly fine.

Around 9:30 a.m., the Winston-Salem Fire Department said the fire at 1938 Butler St. was in progress.

The WSFD then reported the fire was under control around 10:30 a.m.

Webb Heat and Air says the fire may have been preventable.

“Lots of times people holdout until that first cold morning to start their heating system and then guess what, it doesn’t work," said Josh Bradshaw, the Greensboro location general manager. "We would definitely recommend you call in as the season starts to start and give us an opportunity to take care of any of these safety concerns you might have."

Before firing them up, an expert at Webb heating and air recommends you call for preventative maintenance.

“Anytime you’re firing up the heat for the first time, you want to make sure things are kosher, especially with gas and oil,” said Seth Key, who has been with the company for three years.

It is recommended to have an expert check your attic or crawlspace each time the season changes.

“With all of the rain, sometimes with low crawlspaces, we’ve had situations where water actually got into the furnace and nobody knew about it,” Bradshaw said.

And the potential problems don’t stop with house fires.

“If it hasn’t been operational in some time, even just within one year, you can have rust develop...and cause cracks," Bradshaw said. "And that leads to potential with carbon monoxide poison inside the home."

If you turn the heat on before an expert can inspect, make sure your smoke detectors are working and pay close attention.

“Once you turn it, if you smell or hear something out of place, know you need to turn that thing right back off and get somebody out there as soon as possible,” Key said.

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