For Immediate Release - May 20, 2013

State Fire Marshal Offers Outdoor Grilling Safety Tips

Start the Summer Off Safely

“Be safe this summer,” said State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan.  “Inspect your grill for leaks and cracks, and teach children to stay three feet away from any grill in use.”

Check for Leaks

“Check to make sure all the connections are tight and secure before firing up the gas grill for the first time this season,” said Fire Marshal Coan. “Using a brush, apply a soapy solution made of one part detergent and one part water to the tank connection. If the solution bubbles, you have a leak that needs repair,” said Coan. He suggested checking for and replacing any cracked hoses.

Safety First

  • Grills should never be used indoors or on balconies above the first floor
  • Grills should be placed well away from the house, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat build-up from the grills and trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department.  Do not move the grill.
  • Never use gasoline on any grill!

In 2012 there were 90 fires and explosion incidents reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS) involving open fired grills. These incidents caused six civilian injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $1.3 million. This is a 131% increase from the 39 grill fires in 2011.

On May 15, 2012, at 4:42 p.m., the Rockland Fire Department was called to a grill fire on the porch of a two-family home. The grill was too close to the exterior of the home and the heat started a fire that quickly spread up the outside wall and into the attic. Damages from the blaze were estimated to be $85,000.

On August 9, 2012, at 7:58 p.m., the Boston Fire Department was called to a fire that was ignited by an unattended gas grill on the porch. The fire spread up and across the roof. Damages from the blaze were estimated to be $500,000.

Marshal Coan also said, “Safety must also be used around charcoal grills.” Once the coals have been lit, never add more lighter fluid to the fire – flames may travel up the stream of lighter fluid resulting in serious burns. Charcoal briquettes give off carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly. Make sure you always use charcoal grills outside in a well-ventilated area.”