Fire officials urge grilling safety after Timberlake house fire

1900 block of Timberlake Dr. (WSET viewer)

CAMPBELL Co., Va. (WSET) -- Jason Long, owner of Favored Flavors Tasting Shop & Little Bistro in Downtown Lynchburg, served up from fresh cuts from the grill for Father's Day. After years of previously working for the Campbell County Rescue, he knows the dangers of outdoor grills all too well.

"We all leave our grills outside. This is just the nature of grilling. You leave it out long enough, rubber hoses are going to start to crack. Rust is a big deal, especially in a charcoal grill," said Long.

Authorities said a similar situation may have caused the house fire on Timberlake Drive in Campbell County on June 17, 2017.

"The speculation is now that they were cooking with a grill that was a charcoal grill that takes the briquettes and after they had finished eating, they went out on the boat," said Brookville-Timberlake Volunteer Fire Chief Jerry Womack, adding when the family returned to this home, the deck was on fire. "They seem to think that the briquettes dropped out of the grill and caught the deck on fire."

Emergency crews arrived after 8 p.m. to find the home fully engulfed in flames. Fire crews expect to receive more calls for grill-related fires throughout the summer and are urging people to use safety measures when grilling outdoors.

"If you're using briquettes, you really need to be more careful than when using a gas grill, and anytime you grill, don't set it on a wooden deck. You know, you're just asking for trouble if you do that. Put it on concrete or somewhere away from wood," Womack said.

He said never leave a grill unattended, and if you're using a gas grill, you should keep the gas bottle away from direct sunlight.

"Make sure everything's hooked up properly, make sure that you've hooked it up direct to the directions that came with your grill," said Long. "I try to keep the grill surface as clean as I can. There's a lot of grease and oils in all of our meats that we're cooking, and that's gonna flame up and that's gonna give you a problem."

They hope these tips will save homes and lives.

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