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Curious About Grilling Fire Hazards

Curious About Grilling Fire HazardsWBZ

It's a summertime pleasure, firing up the grill. But did you know you're not supposed to use gas grills above ground level?

Deborah from Southie declared her Curiosity to WBZ writing:

"Around my neighborhood I see grills everywhere on back porches. Isn't this a fire hazard? Doesn't a grill on a second or third floor porch negate the homeowner's insurance should a fire occur?"

Good safety questions. We have the answers.


It happens all too often. Fires, sometimes deadly, started by grills. If you look up, you're bound to see them wherever there are multi-family homes, apartments and condos. Propane grills on decks, porches and roofs. What you may not know is those grills are not only unsafe, they're illegal.

"The state's fire code specifically prohibits the use of propane grills on anything above ground floor," says State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan.

"Every year we have in excess of 50 fires that are caused by grills. It causes in excess of three quarters of a million dollars in damage," he adds.


Even though the state regulations only prohibit gas grills, many communities also ban charcoal grills above ground level. Having any kind of grill in that position can be dangerous because they're usually too close to the building.

And, by definition, you have to take the propane tank through the building to reach the deck, which can also be dangerous. And if there's a fire, you're endangering not only yourself, but your neighbors, too.

Why don't they do more to enforce the rules?

Well, no city or town has the resources to check out every building in their community, especially in these tough economic times when fire and police departments are being cut.

So some communities are working with condo associations and building managers to ban grills above ground level. Insurance companies are also having an effect.

"I'm in a 3rd floor condo and we're not allowed to have them. Our insurance company won't let us," says one woman who lives in South Boston.


And consider this. If you cause a fire by using a gas grill above the first floor, your insurance may not cover you.

"It's nice on a summer night to have a barbecue, but be extremely cautious," says Fire Marshal Coan.

For information about grill safety whether you live in a multi-family or single family home visit:

Mass. Fire Marshal's office

National Fire Protection Association

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