On July 11, dozens of residents of Quincy, Massachusetts were driven out of their apartment complex and one firefighter was injured in a Saturday night fire that officials say was ignited by an illegal patio grill.
The fast-moving fire began at about 9:30 p.m. It quickly spread from the second-floor patio to the building’s third floor, which was completely destroyed by the flames. What’s more, the first and second floors suffered severe water and smoke damage.
The next morning, firefighters were still dousing embers at a building that once contained 12 apartments. None of the people living in this building at the Faxon Park Apartment Complex were injured, but all have been displaced. The Red Cross is assisting them with temporary shelter.
Now, the lesson here is one you might not want to hear–especially in summertime when the desire to be outside and cook good food in the warm summer air is very tempting. But many precautions need to be taken whenever you are grilling over a charcoal fire or a propane-fueled fire, in order to avoid someone getting second- or even life-threatening third-degree burns.
First, the space needs to be large enough to allow for the grill and the person cooking to not be dangerously close to other people, or to the edges of the patio. A grill can be easily tipped over, and that would probably result in someone getting burned, either by charcoals or by propane gas that escapes from a ruptured tank–and those tanks do rupture more easily than you might think..
Next, there needs to be a fire extinguisher or a large bucket of water or a large wet towel nearby, in case of the fire gets out of hand and needs to be snuffed out quickly.
Just a little bit of precaution can make an afternoon or evening of using the grill for a cookout much safer for everyone who is enjoying the outdoors. And remember that grills are only for the outdoors–never use a grill indoors, as the smoke is very dangerous in enclosed spaces!