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Should Boston Crack Down on Illegal Deck Grills?

How can Boston identify and remove illegal grills before disaster strikes?

A South End roof deck , causing billowing smoke and snarled traffic in the neighborhood. An illegal grill on the roof deck caused the fire, according to the Boston Fire Department. It was the second illegal grill fire in two days; the department put out a Roslindale blaze Wednesday.

Spotting illegal grills is difficult from street level, but Bostonians in taller buildings know which neighbors have the contraband cookers and which don't.

Here are the city's rules for grills. Mostly they prohibit charcoal grills on any structure and place limits on gas grills.

What can Boston do to crack down on illegal grills? Are you willing to rat out your neighbors in the name of safety?

Or do you own a rooftop grill? Why do you keep the grill if it's a fire hazard?

Share your ideas in the comments section below.

[Editor's note: This piece is posted on all Boston Patches.]

Bette Task August 10, 2012 at 07:53 PM
They should absolutely be banned. We had a terrible fire here a few years ago started by a rooftop grill which destroyed two houses. Another house on High Street was destroyed by a grill on a deck. They are just too dangerous. Especially with the density of structures in Charlestown.
David S August 11, 2012 at 01:35 AM
No way. Grilling out is an American pastime and with such limited outdoor living space in Boston, people want to make use of it where they can. That is the reality. The real solution lies in requiring fire extinguishment precautions at every home/apt. A private fire extinguisher on each deck ready to use in case of emergency. Maybe need some innovation in this regard.
Ben August 11, 2012 at 07:42 AM
No, you put other peoples homes at risk! It's one thing if your home was isolated from your neighbors. In the city the risk is to great.
WD August 11, 2012 at 10:30 AM
A fire extinguisher won't help stop a propane tank from exploding
Bette Task August 11, 2012 at 10:46 AM
And just who is going to enforce THAT?
mplo August 11, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Having any kind of an outdoor grill and barbecuing in densely populated urban areas, imo, is a round-trip ticket to trouble, for both oneself and one's neighbors! I myself, would never, ever do it!
Bette Task August 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM
A thousand is too many!
fp August 11, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Propane tanks don explode unless they are IN a raging fire. If they leak the the gas just disperses unless lighted. Even if lighted the gas burns like in your kitchen gas stove. A constantly WATCHED gas grill with a FIRE EXTINGUSHER present is safe. Love the nanny state and ban everything.
Bette Task August 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Wrong. That is exactly what happened in Charlestown. A propane tank on a roof exploded. Two homes were totaled.
Just a person! August 11, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Agree, are you serious! Propane is not like you house gas! It is heavier, so therefore lingers close to the ground and Does not expell as fast a natural gas, and it will Explode! If you do not believe this , try keeping the cover Closed for a minute or so the open it and strike The igniter , and see what happens. Did anyone ever learn the rule? "safety first"
Chris D August 12, 2012 at 01:49 PM
What's the point of having a law if its not enforced. An American pass time should not include the right to endanger your neighbors with fire living in densely populated areas, not to mention filling their apartments with smoke. I've seen three such fires in JP in five years, and lost my own to fire five years ago. If you want to enjoy a pass time without endangering your neighbors, move to the burbs with a back yard.. otherwise remember that you are part of a community that has certain obligations because of how close we live to each other. The city also has an obligation not to turn a blind eye to its own laws.
Chris Child August 13, 2012 at 01:05 PM
I see people litter cigarettes all the time and have never even heard of police officer giving a citizen a citation for this.The Boston fire marshal did come to our building to insure our home had no grills on the decks. The interesting things we learned were the various things are not illegal. The only part of the "no grills on deck" law this is a violation is the portable gas tank, the grill itself is not illegal and if one has "dedicated gas line" to their grill on the deck, that is legal.
Erica August 14, 2012 at 01:02 PM
there should be an IQ test required... if you are responsible, you're safe.
Jay K. August 14, 2012 at 08:57 PM
A thousand is not too many! If we try to engineer a perfectly safe society we'll never be able to do anything. We need to pay attention to the stats and strike the appropriate balance between freedom and security. Outlawing grills is just another step on the road to Boringtown.
mplo August 14, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Propane gas is much too explosive, and therefore too risky to have in areas where people live in very close proximities to each other.
paul August 25, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I've been grilling on the back deck for 20years without a problem and I have not seen a house fire on my street in 20 years. Stop telling me what to do in my own house.
Bette Task August 25, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Lucky, lucky YOU!!! Your time will come.
Jay K. August 25, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Get a home security system Paul, sounds like Bette is gonna burn down your house!!

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