PEI

No barbecues on apartment balconies, says fire marshal

The Fire Prevention Act says that propane or charcoal barbecues aren't allowed on apartment balconies with an overhang and should be at least 10 feet out from the building. 

Fire Prevention Act says propane or charcoal barbecues should be at least 10 feet out from the building

Charlottetown fire inspector Winston Bryan told CBC a propane tank on a deck was a contributing factor in the spread of a fire on Harley Street a few weeks ago. (Samantha Juric/CBC)

P.E.I.'s fire marshal says his office plans to send notices to apartment building owners, reminding them of fire regulations. 

The Fire Prevention Act says that propane or charcoal barbecues aren't allowed on apartment balconies with an overhang and should be at least 10 feet out from the building. 

These rules have been in place for years and have been enforced, usually when a complaint came forward, said fire marshal Dave Rossiter.

He said there are a couple of concerns when it comes barbecues on balconies, one of those is a flare up.

"You kind of have some fatty food on there, whatever it ignites and you get a flare up of flame as you would and you have that overhang, you could get an ignition there," Rossiter said.

The worry is the fire could spread to nearby objects, he said.

Fire marshal Dave Rossiter says if people in an apartment still want to barbecue, they should set up a communal area at least 10 feet away from the building. (Shutterstock)

The other concern is a propane leak.

"If you happen to have a leak, because propane is heavier than air you could be leaking to any tenants that are below you, and if that happens to reach an ignition source you could be into a fire situation," Rossiter said.

Rule not popular with tenants

Rossiter said he realizes tenants in multi-unit homes are going to view the rule as an inconvenience, but it is a rule in many cities across Canada.

"The reason [barbecues] are restricted onto apartment buildings is because you are dealing with multiple dwelling units within a building," he said.

If something goes wrong and there is a fire it is not just the person who caused it who is affected, Rossiter said.

'If we can avoid any catastrophic loss of property or injuries or heaven forbid even a fatality, we view it as being worth it,' says Rossiter. (Stephanie vanKampen/CBC)

Charlottetown fire inspector Winston Bryan told CBC a propane tank on a deck was a contributing factor in the spread of a fire on Harley Street a few weeks ago.

Rossiter's office is now taking extra steps to make sure apartment owners know the rules, by sending notices, which will also include information on mulch and evacuation plans, he said.

"If we can avoid any catastrophic loss of property or injuries or heaven forbid even a fatality, we view it as being worth it."

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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