BBQ explosion leaves townhome a total loss - Tucson Local Media: News

BBQ explosion leaves townhome a total loss

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Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 3:00 am

On June 13, Northwest Fire District responded to 650 E. Camino Alteza near North First Avenue and River Road to find a townhome fully engulfed in fire.

Numerous 9-1-1 calls came into the communications center at 7:40 p.m. reporting that a propane barbecue had caught fire and then spread into the townhome. Units from Northwest Fire arrived six minutes later to find heavy fire from the rear porch area of the home.

Fire fighters had the fire under control in 19 minutes, but not after significant fire damage had occurred to the unit and minor smoke damage to the two adjacent units.

The homeowner reported that she was using the barbecue to cook hot dogs and left the grill for a time. When she returned, she saw a fire around the propane tank area and attempted to smother it with a towel. Investigators believe that the fire spread rapidly due to the propane that was leaking. 

Due to damage, investigators were unable to determine if there was a problem with a regulator or hose that contributed to the cause of the fire.

Damages were estimated to be approximately $60,000 and there were no injuries reported.

As the summer season of barbecue use heats up, Northwest Fire District wants to remind users to follow these very important safety tips when grilling:

• Always keep the barbecue unit a safe distance from the house.  A 20-foot minimum is recommended and never under a porch or overhang.

• Always inspect hoses, fittings, and connections for leaks before use. Use soapy water to check for bubbles when the gas is flowing. If you see any soapy bubbles, do not use the grill.

• Check on the barbecue often when in use.

• Have a fire extinguisher available in your home at all times.

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