Officials: Beloit mom, daughters nearly killed by rental home’s improperly installed furnace

Local News

BELOIT, Wis. (WTVO) — Firefighters are warning renters to beware after a Beloit family was sent to the hospital after a badly installed furnace filled their rental home with carbon monoxide.

Acting Lt. Jeremy Flanagan, of the Beloit Fire Department, responded to the home on Sixth Street on Monday around 7 a.m.

“We have a [carbon monoxide] detector that we use, and the detector started alarming outside of the house, which is scary when you consider we’re in fresh air,” Flanagan said.

Once the fire department went inside the house, the readings were even higher.

“By the time we went into the home and down to the basement, and closer to the furnace, we actually had levels that were extremely dangerous,” he said. “We’re very fortunate that no one had died as a result from this.”

A mother and her two daughters were hospitalized for carbon monoxide inhalation.

Flanagan blamed an improperly installed and improperly vented furnace for sending the family to the hospital.

“The furnace that was installed was at least a 8-10 year old furnace, and probably wasn’t functioning properly when it was installed [several years ago],” he said. “It was installed and they claimed it was a new install. It was new to the home, but it wasn’t a new furnace.”

The family rents the home, and a new law in Wisconsin says rental properties don’t have to be inspected unless there’s a complaint from an occupant.

“We can’t do pro-active interior inspections of rental houses anymore,” said Beloit’s Director of Strategic Communications, Sarah Millard.

“If you’re renting a property, yes, the property is the landlord’s responsibility. But, it’s also important for people to be paying attention to their smoke detectors, their carbon monoxide detectors,” Flanagan said.

Firefighters say it is important to have a carbon monoxide detector in a home.

“Every home, we always recommend to have a functioning carbon monoxide detector,” Flanagan said. “Most of them won’t last any longer than seven years. We’r really recommending [replacing them] closer to five years.”

All three residents were treated and released from a local hospital, but the house is uninhabitable.

Central Christian Church has given them a temporary place to stay as they look for a new home.

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