In August of 2017 The River Forest Fire Department responded to two fires that involved gas barbecue grills.  With this in mind the River Forest Fire Department, along with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) would like to remind residents to grill safely.



  • In the last five years fire departments across the United States responded to an average of 8,900 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues.
  • Grilling of any kind is not permitted on wooden porches or stairways of apartment and/or condominium buildings.
  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.


  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to a smoldering fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container


Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

For more information, call the River Forest Fire Prevention Bureau at 708-714-3562 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.