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House Fire Sparks Grill Safety Reminder

April 21, 2014, 5:09 PM by Sammi Bjelland

House Fire Sparks Grill Safety Reminder

A Sioux Falls family, trying to enjoy the nice weather over the weekend got a shocking surprise Sunday.

A house on South Oakland Avenue suffered fire damage, after a grill caught fire on the deck and spread to parts of the home.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue says it's that time of year, when people need to be checking their equipment before grilling.

"The residents of the house started the grill up to warm it up, and gone back in the house. And when they come outside, approximately 10 minutes later, the grill and part of the deck was on fire," Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Fire Inspector John Wagner said.

"Looked out the deck window and looked down the way and there was a big fire on the deck about three houses down," neighbor Bruce Crawford said.

Crawford lives down the street and captured the fire on his camera phone when fire crews arrived.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue knocked the flames down quickly, but the damage to the deck and side of the house is extensive.

Wagner says propane grills are generally safe, but there are warning signs to look for.

"When the resident started the grill up, they heard a hissing noise. And they assumed it was just the propane going from the tank to the grill. Actually, there was a leak of some sort in the connection," Wagner said. 

Wagner says looking for cracks in the hose and making sure connections are tight are important steps, especially after grills have been sitting unused all winter.

"It doesn't hurt to make sure it's tight and then test it with a soapy water solution. If there are any leaks, you'll see bubbles appearing around where the connection hooks up to the grill," Wagner said. 

Wagner also says you need to keep an eye on your grill at all times when it's on and keep it away from the house. He suggests putting it on the ground or in the far corner of you deck.

"If you look around everybody's yards, their grill is next to their railings and next to their house. It's probably surprising that that don't happen more often," Crawford said. 

Crawford says after witnessing his neighbor's fire this weekend, he's going to rethink where his grill will sit this summer.

"Our grill's on the deck but I've got it as far away from the house as possible, and seriously considering and probably will grill on the ground away from the deck and any burning structures," Crawford said.

There have been 13 grill-related fires in Sioux Falls since 2011.

Fire rescue officials say they want people to enjoy grilling out this summer; they just want everyone to be safe first.

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