Routine maintenance could have prevented explosion, furnace fire

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YUKON, Okla.- A low of 23 degrees had Chyrstal Sanchez firing up the furnace Monday morning. 

She wanted the home nice and toasty for the family, including the newest addition, 3-week-old Macy Marie.

Sanchez said, " I didn't want the home to be ice-cold."

An unusual odor began pouring through the vents. 

Sanchez said the faulty heater exploded.

"It sounded like a gunshot," she said. "We came outside to look and see if something was going on in the neighborhood. We went back inside and saw smoke pouring out the house. I got everybody up."

Joshua Vershaw grabbed his toddler and newborn daughter and raced out the front door, navigating a corridor of heavy, choking smoke.  

Vershaw said, "It was two feet above, solid smoke. It was strong. You could taste it, smell it. It was bad."

Yukon Fire traced the cause to the furnace. 

Fire investigators said they see it every season. 

Most of these fires are preventable with some inexpensive intervention.  

Yukon Fire Capt. Kent Long said, "A lack of maintenance or build up. Naturally with the use of the furnace, around this time of year, when you use it more frequently, make sure it's in top shape."

This is the first "furnace" call for the Yukon fire Department this season and they suspect it probably won't be the last.

The family safely made it out of the smoke-filled house. 

The American Red Cross is helping them recover.