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Thursday, July 21, 2011

BBQ Fire Causes $100,000 in Damage

A West Vancouver barbecue took a turn for the expensive Tuesday evening when flames from the grill spread to the owner’s home and did an estimated $100,000 in damage, according to firefighters.

West Vancouver fire crews rushed to the house in the 3600-block of Marine Drive just before 7 p.m. when someone called to report a fire creeping along the outside of the building. Firefighters arrived to find smoke and open flames pouring from the home’s siding and threatening to move into the garage, where the owner’s vehicle was parked. The family had already made their way safely outside.

The crews quickly got the blaze under control before it made its way into the structure, said West Vancouver division Fire Chief Martin Ernst. The nearby stretch of Marine Drive was closed for several hours, however, while they ensured it was fully extinguished.

The call had originally come in as a furnace fire, but investigators later traced it to the barbecue in the back yard. The cost of repairs and cleanup from smoke damage will likely run up to six figures, he said.

West Vancouver firefighters respond to several incidents sparked by outdoor grills every year, said Ernst. The owner did the right thing in this case by calling 9-1-1 immediately, getting the family outside and staying on the phone with the dispatcher, describing the blaze’s spread, he said.

“Dispatch was able to update incoming fire engines,” said Ernst. “They knew exactly what part of the house to go to, exactly what their tactics were going to be.”

Barbecuing is by and large a safe way to cook, he added. Most problems can be avoided simply by moving the grill away from nearby buildings.

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