Charcoal grill sets West Roxbury house on fire

Whittemore Street house

26 Whittemore St. Photo by BFD.

A charcoal grill too close to flammable materials sparked a two-alarm fire that caused an estimated $500,000 in damage at 26 Whittemore St. in West Roxbury, the Boston Fire Department reports.

Cause was a charcoal grill too close to combustibles rear deck

Firefighters responded around 11:25 p.m.

One person inside the house got out safely.

The fire was declared knocked down around midnight.

By 11:45 p.m., smoke from the fire had spread at least as far away as Grew Hill in Roslindale.

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Once again

thanks for the news. Explains the sirens on Centre St. for about 15-20 minutes. Glad the occupant got out safely.

Half a million dollars

Half a million dollars worth in damage. Very nice house. Too bad the owner is too stupid to follow the fire code.

33.07 P2 Solid Fueled & Charcoal Grills

Under the authority of the Boston Fire Prevention Code Article 1, Section 1.05(b), the Boston Fire Department prohibits the use of portable charcoal or any solid or non-gaseous fueled cooking grills, hibachi, or similar cooking appliances on or within a building or structure, and further prohibits their use on balconies, decks, porches, or within 10 feet of a structure.

If you see your neighbor lighting a charcoal fire on his deck, call the Fire Department before he sets his house on fire.

Hur hur

It would be much easier to avoid than that if you had a single family house on a huge corner lot, like this fellow does. Just lay a patio and put your grill there, at least ten feet away from the house. When the inevitable sparks fall through, they won't set the flagstones on fire.

What is wrong with people?

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It is too bad that a nice house sustained half a million dollars worth of damage, due to the owner's arrogance and stupidity.

Depends...but probably yes.

If they refused to pay off on all stupid/crazy/lack of common sense caused fires, Boston would be mostly vacant. This was an accidental fire. Dumb? Well, I suppose but if we used common sense 100% of the time, stuff like this wouldn't happen.

I wish they would ban ...

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... charcoal fires anywhere in Boston. Especially when stared with lighter fluid. Besides the fire hazard they pose, in cramped neighborhoods a neighbor's charcoal grill can stink up your apartment worse than 20 cigarette smokers outside your window.

1 Beckler Ave

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Happened in South Boston back in June. Totaled a place sold just months earlier and caused quite a stir in that dense neighborhood of old row houses

Luckily Engine 2 knocked it down quick.

Ah...okay.

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if there was only one person in the house, especially if they got out safely, that's different.

The good side, and the case for electric grills

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The good side of this story was nobody was hurt, and the person only burned down their own house, not their neighbors'.

At my condo, the property mgt co was bombarded every year with complaints whenever they enforced the no-open-flame policy on the balconies. But they finally came up with a solution: Electric grills on the roof deck. No open flame, no code violation. But still a grill.

Safety First

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Adam, thanks for writing about this fire code reg. I think there was a relatively recent FB thread scoffing at this. Regs are not made arbitrarily - they're made because something bad happened.

Basic common sense

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Even when I was a stupid just graduated student, I looked at the 18th century house that I lived in and thought it best to put my grill at the bottom of my kitchen stairs, away from the stairway when in use.

My landlord, who lived in the first floor, was relieved to see it. To me it was a "well, DUH" kind of thing. Sure, it would be much easier to put it on the landing next to the kitchen, but that struck me as totally stupid.

"...recent FB thread scoffing at this."

And also a recent UHub thread where I said that burning a Confederate flag was illegal in the City of Boston. It produced the usual guffaws from the usual suspects excoriating my lack of knowledge of several Supreme Court cases.
Unfortunately, they couldn't see the difference between a specific law criminalizing the desecration of the flag (struck down by the Court) and a law against open fires without a permit in the City of Boston (Boston Fire Prevention Code, Article XV 'Fires in the Open' section 15.01.)

Sock Puppet is quite correct in his citing of the BFPC. Section 33 goes further and details the requirement for offering a small fire pit for sale. The display must be tagged with a sign telling the buyer that it is illegal to use the damn thing if it burns solid fuel, which of course it does.
It goes further and prohibits the use or storage of LP above the first floor. First floor use is illegal if there's a roof over the grill like a rear porch. Rooftop decks with grills? Well, if the roof is above the first floor...

The only way for a gas grill to be legal above the first floor would be for it to be properly installed and inspected, with a permit issued at the final stage on installation. 527CMR might detail the requirements, probably commercial level.

BFPC (pdf): https://www.cityofboston.gov/images_documents/BOSTON%20FIRE%20PREVENTION...

It's me, I'm the killjoy who

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It's me, I'm the killjoy who reported their neighbors for having a grill with flames tall enough to lap at the roof trim up on top of their wood deck. The city had inspectors outhe the next day. For this one issue, 311 actually works.

Now they have the grill on their brick patio instead (dunno why it wasn't there to begin with), still pushed against a wood fence but... sigh.

I'd love to have a grill but not willing to clear all vegetation from the one corner of stone wall, and not willing to put it against vinyl siding either. So I'm developing my skills with the stove griddle pan and put in a serious indoor fume hood instead. You make minor sacrifices to live in the city. Cooking your neighbors isn't worth a charred steak.

Restore Our Fire Department Service

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I don't think people realize the amount of fires we have in W. Rox. A few years ago Tom Menino took away our fire chief along with the chief in Mission Hill. We now have to depend on a chief to come from Dorchester or Roslindale to be in control of fires and other incidents, provided there isn't an emergency in those neighborhoods. With this new gas pipeline running through the neighborhood, there is no question that the risk to our safety has increased. I think with the amount of taxes we pay that public safety service should be restored and maintained at levels that exceed a standard to ensure safety for the residents and the firefighters themselves. If the taxes are going to rise, the level of service should rise with it.

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