Reminder: A Balcony Is Not A Safe Place To Use Your Barbecue Smoker

The residents of a New Jersey home learned an important safety lesson about outdoor cooking recently, albeit in a very unfortunate way: police say a house caught on fire after someone used a barbecue smoker on a balcony.

Local fire crews arrived on Thursday to fight what one official told the Springfield News-Leader was a “pretty extensive” fire. Four children were home at the time, and were safely removed without injuries (it’s unclear if any adults were there as well).

It seems that the cooking smoker was being used in the back of the house, in a spot directly beneath a balcony. The balcony then caught fire, and the flames spread up the back of the house and across the roof.

Though it’s awful that this lesson had to come by way of destruction, but it does bring out an important safety point: Experts advise people to keep any kind of grill or outdoor cooking equipment like a smoker a good distance away from your house or dwelling — 10 feet is a good number to stick with.

The fact that the roof has wooden shingles made things worse, officials said. It’s known as “shake shingle,” a material that has been banned in the town on newly constructed house. The house in this case is in an area of Springfield that was annexed after the house had already been built, however.

Fire officials: Barbecue smoker causes fire in east Springfield [Springfield News-Leader]

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