In the wake of two recent fires that were apparently caused by grills, the Hoffman Estates Fire Department is urging residents to be careful while grilling this summer.
Deputy Chief Jeff Jorian said coals from a charcoal grill were to blame for an afternoon fire on June 3 that damaged a garage in the 1300 block of Nottingham Lane. He said coals may have also contributed to a townhouse fire on July 29 that left two residences on the 1700 block of Sussex Walk uninhabitable.
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Damage from the two fires totaled to more than $50,000. The department has said they were both preventable and issued the following tips to remind residents to stay on guard when grilling:
• Be sure to properly dispose of hot coals by placing them in a metal container.
• Before using the grill, check the connection between the propane tank and fuel line.
• Do not wear loose clothing near the grill.
• Never grill indoors, as carbon monoxide could be produced.
• Never use gasoline to start charcoal grills.
• Make sure to use lighter fluid safely and prudently.
• Comply with any apartment or condominium complex rules for grills on balconies.
• Keep children and pets away from grilling area.
Jorian said hot coals should be kept in a metal container and soaked completely in water for a few hours before they are disposed. He said coals that are cooling down should be left outside and away from any structure that they could potentially set on fire.
In recent years, Jorian said, the only other grilling-related fire occurred when a charcoal grill tipped over on the wooden deck of an apartment building, causing extensive damage.
However, in 2011 gas and charcoal grills caused about 3,400 structure fires and 4,900 outdoor fires nationwide, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
"We just want to make sure everybody knows about this," Jorian said. "Don't keep (hot coals) in any proximity of flammable objects."