Proper grill safety can prevent a tragedyMoorhead, MN (WDAY TV) -- Moorhead Fire officials today ruled the cause of Monday's house fire as accidental. The Jamie and Shannon Woodward family was able to escape the fire. but the home was seriously damaged after a BBQ grill started on fire.
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) -- Moorhead Fire officials today ruled the cause of Monday's house fire as accidental. The Jamie and Shannon Woodward family was able to escape the fire. but the home was seriously damaged after a BBQ grill started on fire.
The grill and what is not left of it tell the story. The fire that started on the grill spread fast and furiously. A few pieces of the grill's frame is all that's left.
Rich Duysen – Moorhead Fire Chief "One of the things you want to look for in an older grill is the hose; the condition of the hose."
Moorhead Fire Chief Rich Duysen says the family left a grill briefly while preparing the rest of the meal. It is not sure how the grill exploded into flames, but it is a reminder to check out a few simple things on your grill, like the rubber tubing.
Rich Duysen: "Over time it cracks and splits, it loses its elasticity. If it’s bent it can start leaking, and once it starts leaking propane and it finds an ignition source it’s going to ignite. Propane is a little bit heavier than air so it’s going to settle, and you’re going to have a grill that’s engulfed in fire.”
Another thing is to turn off the valves entirely when you’re done, not just the knobs on the grill.
Rich Duysen: "You want to shut this off, that shuts the burner down, but you still gas pressure in the hose. So if you were to develop a leak while you were away from the house, or something like that, we’re not going to know it.”
It is not just the cleaning and maintenance of the grill that is important, but the location of the grill.
Rich Duysen: "You want to be at least 15 feet away from anything combustible when you are cooking."
As for the task of cleaning the grill, no one likes to, but all that grease….
Captain Dave Allen - Moorhead Fire Dept.: "A lot of gas grills, and grills in general, have a catch area for your greases. You need to check them periodically."
Rich Duysen: "If you are not there and have a grease fire, it’s just going to build and grow and grow."
Fire officials say that if something smells like gas, or if fittings appear loose on the grill or the tank it’s best to have an expert check it. Safety experts say it is also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher close by when grilling anywhere close to the house.