Neglected grill chars more than the hot dogs

See why not keeping watch on their outdoor cooker cost this Mill Park family burned weenies – and a charred house …

Fire officials say an unattended barbecue grill lit the deck of this house of fire, and flames spread to the back wall, attic and roof. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

By David F. Ashton

On hot, summer-like spring evenings, many outer East Portland families choose to fire up the grill and cook outdoors.

However, a Friday evening barbecue cook-out went tragically amiss just before 5:30 p.m. on June 5, when the deck and house caught fire at 1944 SE 112th Avenue.

As Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) crews from the Mill Park Station 7 rolled up to the house, they reported that smoke and fire was showing from the back deck, and the back of the house.

Firefighters chip away the eaves, to reveal glowing embers that they’ll extinguish. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

“The fire had spread to the side of the home and into the attic,” said PF&R spokesman Lt. Rich Tyler. “Some of the fire crew searched the home to make sure everyone had gotten out.”

Other firefighters pulled water lines from the engine to douse the blazing deck, siding and roof. Truck 7 firefighters laddered up to the roof and started cutting it open to attack the flames that had spread into the attic.

“Fire crews were able to get the fire under control after 30 minutes,” reported Tyler, “but they stayed on scene considerably longer, to make sure the hot spots were extinguished.”

With the roof, attic, and ceiling peeled back, firefighters continue looking for hotspots from a blaze they say was caused by a neglected barbecue grill. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

The fire cause was identified as the unattended barbecue grill, Tyler said. “The value of the loss is still to be determined. There were no injuries to the residents or firefighters, but two adults and a dog were displaced from the home. The Red Cross assisted them.”
Outdoor grilling is a popular way to cook food, Tyler remarked. “However, outdoor grills can be a fire hazard.”

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© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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