Safety tips for a safe outdoor grilling season - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Safety tips for a safe outdoor grilling season

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PASCO, WA - A house fire over the weekend sent a man to the hospital with severe burns. The fire started because he left the grill unattended. Now that the weather is perfect for cooking outdoors, reporter Stefani Zenteno looked into the things you should keep in mind before you start grilling.

On Sunday, a man from Pasco suffered burns to his hands, feet, and legs. He was barbecuing on his wooden deck and left the grill unattended. When he came back, his entire deck was up in flames. In just a few minutes, the fire spread to the home and is now a total loss.

This is why it's important to set up a grill in an open area away from buildings, dry leaves, or brush. Also, hanging sleeves or apron strings can easily catch fire.

Ben Shearer with the Pasco Fire Department says you should never leave your grill unattended. 

"Stay with it and watch it," Shearer said. "I know it's tempting; you got seven or ten minutes for your steak to cook and it's tempting to go inside and start preparing more food, and all too often people get distracted. The phone rings, there's something on TV, and that seven, ten minutes suddenly becomes 15 minutes and you look outside and the barbecue is on fire and the steak burnt up."

According to a 2016 report from the National Fire Protection Association, the leading causes of grill fires were a failure to clean, having the grill too close to something that could catch fire, and leaving the grill unattended.

Keep fire starter or charcoal fluid away from the reach of kids; keep grills and bonfires at least ten feet away from trees, homes, or decks; and when you do finish grilling or having a bonfire, do not leave it burning out alone.

"When you're cooking, anything can go wrong at any time; if you have any grease drippings or something that can easily cause a big flare up of the barbecue."