York City fire officials offer grilling safety tips ahead of Memorial Day weekend

YORK, Pa. -- The grill is fired up— burgers are sizzling — and with Memorial Day weekend creeping in, firefighters in York are on alert.

Chief, Patrick Rose, who has been with York City Fire Department for more than 30 years, says he’s responded to several grill-related fire calls.

"People could lose their lives," said Chief Patrick Rose. "We’ve seen whole houses burn down because the grill was literally right next to the house, it caught the siding on fire and next thing you know until we get the call, people try to put the fire out themselves, so by the time we get there the whole back of house is on fire," he added.

The ‘National Fire Protection Association’ estimates that more than 9,600 fires are started by grills each year.

One of the biggest issues being when people put a grill too close to a home — or on a back wooden deck.

Which is why Chief Rose recommends placing your grill at least 20 feet away from any flammable structure.

"A grill gets very hot, it has open flames, they will throw off radiated heat which will melt a siding and cause the wood to catch fire," added Chief Rose.

A faulty hose line can also be to blame.

“Once it is ignited the fire can follow that line down, and the next thing you know the whole grill could be burning," said Chief Rose.

So if you have a gas or propane grill — it’s always good to check for any cracks before turning it on.

“You could spray water with soap around the connections just to see if any air is leaking out, bubbles will form," added Chief Rose.

If you do have a leak, experts at Lowes say it’s as simple as buying a hose replacement for under $20.

"When you do have a line that’s starting to wear and tear and become porous, you want to change that line as quickly as possible," said Milford Zeiders.

But if you have charcoal, the main thing is not to saturate the coal with a lot of fluid.

Gas, propane, or charcoal, grease build up is another major safety concern.

“When you have a grill, sparks can go up from that and it can catch a tree on fire if it’s dry enough," added Chief Rose.

Whatever you do, don’t walk away from the grill and leave it unattended.

“Once people start partying, the alcohol starts flowing and people tend to let their guards down on things so just use caution when you grill," added Chief Rose.