South End roof goes up in flames

73 Rutland St. in the South End

The Boston Fire Department responded around 3:30 p.m. to 73 Rutland St. for a roof fire that quickly went to two alarms. The bulk of the fire was knocked down around 4:05 p.m.

There were no injuries. The cause is under investigation.

Firefighters on what's left of the roof (photo by BFD):

Remains of the roof
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Comments

An acquaintance of mine owns

An acquaintance of mine owns an abutting house. Every house in the row has a grill on the roof deck. Plenty of possible causes.

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Voting is closed. 21

They should pay up for the

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They should pay up for the problems they caused, and their should be stricter fines against that sort of things. It's just pure entitlement from people who aren't going stick around for many years anyway.

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Bummer for your friend! The

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Bummer for your friend! The fire department in my neighbohood at least once a year does a sweep of the neighborhood looking for safety violations such as illegal grills on fire escapes and roof decks, among other things. If I owned a million dollar property I wouldn't just laugh off an illegal propane tank on the roof of the building I lived in or an abutting one... I'd actually do something about it by asking them to remove it and explainking why, and if that doesn't work, alert the management company, condo trustees or fire department.

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heard it was a propane tank

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Know of a few friends on this street, they said a propane tank exploded. Also if you look at the Boston Fire twitter, it shows a picture of 2 propane tanks, one with a valve knocked off. Hopefully no people or pets were injured.

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I'm a lucky abutter

...the roof fire stopped just short of our building. I spoke with a fire department inspector; they're looking at a faulty AC condenser unit that possibly started the fire. Propane tanks don't spontaneously blow up, but of course if they're up there—as in this case—they certainly make a bad situation a much, much worse, multi-building one.

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And the city still allows

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And the city still allows people to use gas and charcoal bbq grills on Rooftops.
Should be regulated ..

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No it doesn't

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They're illegal. If you know of one and are that concerned, you should contact 311.

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Roof top propane bbq grills

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Roof top propane bbq grills are illegal in Boston, since when.
Then the city should start using drones to locate them on roofs in the North end and all over Boston.

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This is taken from the BFD's

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This is taken from the BFD's Twitter page: "Charcoal grills on ground away from buildings. Propane tank grills on 1st floor ONLY with conditions. Be aware of wind and combustibles. Be safe"

That statement has been there for a long time. If you see a propane or charcoal grill in use and it doesn't meet the above standards, either report to 311 as Adam stated or call the fire department. We had some young adults move in a few houses down. One night I saw flames on their back porch (a wood second floor porch with a wood third floor porch above) - they had tiki torches burning for atmosphere on the porch!! I called the fire department and they were out in no time. Needless to say, no more tiki torches. We have also had them survey our neighborhood and leave notices in the homes where illegal grills were spotted. They take this quite seriously.

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Voting is closed. 32

Propane grills are only

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Propane grills are only allowed at the ground level. Any propane tank above the 1st floor is illegal. Any charcoal or other solid fuel (wood etc) grill is illegal anywhere other than your back yard. Electric grills are allowed on all levels, and natural gas grills are allowed on decks if they have been professionally installed and inspected by a plumbing inspector. If you see a propane/charcoal/wood/chiminea on a deck or roof, report it, and the FD will respond and have it it removed. This is in both the Boston fire code and its bylaws, and it is pretty standard in most towns and cities.

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It's not just grills per-se,

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It's not just grills per-se, the fire code prohibits propane cylinders with many restrictions: Must not be above the first floor, must be X number of feet from a building, area must have an egress point (even if on a first floor deck) and you can't use them on an enclosed balcony, etc.

So other propane devices, like those patio heaters, are also not allowed on roof tops.

You may be allowed to use these devices provided you pipe in gas and get a proper permit.

People unfortunately don't think things through when they do things like this.

If your illegal propane grill starts a fire, you are now liable, and guess what, your insurance probably won't be paying out that claim...

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Question: how does a propane tank catch fire?

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Serious question here: Growing up in the suburbs, most everyone had a gas grill in the yard, and I don't ever recall one exploding or otherwise catching fire beyond maybe charring a steak or chicken breast.

I've seen fires start when someone cleaned out the charcoal from a grill and left the warm ashes on a wood deck, etc.

But historically, how do gas tanks & gas grills combust unintentionally?

Thanks in advance for actual answers & dialog here, hopefully based on fire-safety knowlege, rather than snark or conjecture. And as a disclaimer- I don't have a roof-deck, so no dog directly in this fight. But I know grills are banned, and I recall similar fires being blamed on gas-grills in the North End and I think Charlestown, and I'm curious.

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Gas leaks

Leaks in the tank itself are probably less common than leaks from a faulty hose or connector or the grill itself. Of course, you would need a source of ignition like the grill being lit already and flames traveling toward the tank or spreading to the deck.

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LPG tanks ...

have a pressure relief valve in the valve assembly. Also, look up the concept of BLEVE [boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion].

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Location