While I was away, the heat went off. Without going into details, we were able to get the gas company's service team to come over and get it going again. This took three people many hours over three days; heat was restored the second day, but the actual repair took much longer. I talked to the repair crew when I got back, and older guy with experience with this type of boiler, and a younger guy who was working with him. Apparently, the call they got from the first responder was "Wait til you see this one, it's the size of a Volkswagon." Indeed! We have a hundred-year old cast iron boiler that used to be fired by coal, but now uses gas. It heats water which rises to the radiators as steam. You have to keep it filled and blow out the sediments that can gunk up the various gauges and pipes. There is also a little motor that goes on to get the gas going, and they no longer make them. Once that goes, the whole systems will have to be replaced. There is asbestos to be removed through abatement, etc. A huge job, and not one we want to do while the temperatures are below zero, as they are today.
They got it working again, and we hope it will last through the heating season, but I'm getting estimates to replace it in the spring.