Unattended Grill Sparks Patio Fire at Southwest-Side Complex
Madison, WI 53703
A hot grill left unattended led to a fire that damaged two exterior patio decks. Nobody was injured.
Residents at an apartment complex on Pinelake Drive were grilling on their second-story deck and went inside around 8:30 p.m., leaving behind a bag of charcoal sitting next to the grill.
Around 3 a.m., one of the occupants woke up to the smell of smoke. She found flames on the deck next to the grill, and they were spreading to the siding of the building. The bag of charcoal that had been next to the grill was now burned up. She and the second occupant began shuttling water out to the balcony.
When Ladder Company 7 and other MFD units arrived, the 911 caller pointed them toward the wooden deck. Firefighters found charring which had also damaged the support structures underneath. The brick exterior of the building was also warm, and a thermal imaging camera indicated the surface measured at 150 degrees. Firefighters applied water to the surfaces to thoroughly cool them down.
Hot charcoal embers were also found on a first-floor deck. Firefighters extinguished them and swept them onto the asphalt driveway. Engine Company 7 further confirmed the fire did not spread into the walls of the building. Firefighters woke up the first-floor occupants to alert them about the damage to their deck.
Property managers were also notified of the incident, and the occupants of the second-story unit were allowed to return to their apartment.
The City of Madison has specific regulations related to the use of grills on balconies. Although charcoal grills can be stored on balconies, they cannot be used within 10 feet of a building unless the balcony is equipped with automatic sprinklers.
Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)