CO2 boilers/direct heating systems used in greenhouses often lead to incomplete combustion, which results in the formation of hazardous gases, such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitroxide (NOX) and other hydrocarbons. In this study, strawberry plants that were grown on rockwool cubes were transferred to airtight bottles and treated with CO, NOX, CH4 and C3H8 gases for 1–48 hours. Oxidative damage due to hazardous gases was observed, as indicated by H2O2 and O2−1 determination. Photosynthetic pigments were reduced, and stomatal guard cells were damaged and remained closed compared to the control. The activity of other photosynthetic parameters was negatively related to hazardous gases. Reduction in the expression of multiprotein complexes was highly observed under hazardous gas treatments. This study highlighted that hazardous gases (CO, NOX, CH4 and C3H8) emitted due to incomplete combustion of CO2 fertilization units/or direct heating systems resulted in the formation of ROS in shoots and limited photosynthetic metabolism. We predicted that major steps must be incorporated to improve the efficiency of CO2 boiler/heating systems to decrease the emission of these hazardous gases and other hydrocarbons and to reduce the observed risks that are key to the reduction of crops. © 2018, The Author(s).