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Cool headed response by homeowner keeps BBQ fire from expanding

By: Christina Waldner

  |  Posted: Thursday, Jul 10, 2014 10:03 am

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According to the Airdrie Fire Department, quick action by a homeowner kept a barbecue fire on July 3 from turning into something more devastating.

Five apparatus and 12 firefighters responded to the fire at 772 Coopers Drive SW at 5:45 p.m. after the homeowner called 911. Deputy Chief Garth Rabel said the department always sends a full response to a possible structure fire.

The fire was largely out by the time crews arrived after the homeowner grabbed a home fire extinguisher and put out the flames. She told firefighters she had only left her barbecue unattended on her back deck for a few moments and returned to find it in flames. Firefighters inspected the scene to ensure there were no remaining hotspots.

The barbecue sustained significant damage and some of the vinyl siding on the home was warped as a result of the fire.

Rabel said it’s important to keep your barbecue in good working condition, including inspecting it before the start of each barbecuing season for leaks. A simple solution of 50 per cent dish soap and 50 per cent water applied to the fuel source will show a leak if bubbles appear.

Regular service and replacement of the barbecue’s working parts is also important, according to Rabel.

“A barbecue needs to breath,” said Rabel. “Be responsible with the distance you keep it away from anything flammable.”

The Airdrie Fire Department recommends you first turn off the dials and then the fuel source when you have finished cooking. You should also clean off all food residue and allow the barbecue to cool before covering it.

“Also, don’t leave a propane tank out in full sunlight,” Rabel added.

“Tanks are only filled to 80 per cent by law so the fuel inside can expand but it’s better to be safe.”

Barbecue safety tips:

• Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and branches

• Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic

• Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a three-foot “safe zone” around the grill

•Use long-handled grilling tools to have plenty of clearance from heat and flames

For more fire safety tips, visit


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