Letters to the Editor 7-27-12

Grill Safely

Editor:

I would like to clear up some misinformation concerning the open burning ordinance.

Council is not stopping our residents from grilling. Our residents can grill but it must be done safely. Also, the fire marshal will not be required to inspect portable grills. The fire marshal will not get involved unless there is a complaint or a mishap. Residents can use their portable grills on their deck. Yes, that is true. I mentioned at a council meeting a fire resistant grill pad would be acceptable, but that went unnoticed. After further investigation a bed of concrete pavers or patio stones would be acceptable, as well.

This ordinance was recommended by our solicitor and one of our fire marshals. Evidently, we have had quite a few near misses and have been lucky a house has not burned down. Grill fires are not uncommon. In 2005 to 2009, the U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 fires per year caused by grills. These fires caused an annual average of 15 deaths plus many injuries, not to mention $75 million in property damage per year. Yes, $75 million. Our homes are close together and if there is a grill fire, the neighbors have a good chance of having fire, smoke and water damage to their homes. While repairs are being done they could, possibly, need to be relocated for up to one year. Of course, if they have insurance. If anyone has had their house burn down, like I have, it is something that is hard to forget. Why take a chance?

Other communities have a similar ordinance. Even manufacturers of portable grills, depending on the manufacturer, recommend the consumer grills be anywhere from 3 to 10 feet from a combustible structure. I am told in New York the law is 10 feet from a combustible structure. Contrary to what is being said, the ordinance does not imply that our residents do not know how to grill. About 35 percent of grill fires are due to grill malfunctions.

It is interesting that other responsible community councils which have enacted similar grilling ordinances are not dealing with all this controversy. Why would anyone be against safety? If we care enough about our family, friends and neighbors, I suggest we all grill safely.

The open burning aspect of the ordinance was needed because we have had residents burning building supplies, leaves, plastics and etc. One incident sent four children to the hospital. I have had many complaints from residents about smoke permeating their homes. Keep in mind, our community has one of the highest rates of children with asthma.

Additionally, I do not think it is necessary to say mean things about our community and council members. To drag Bellevue through the mud when there is a disagreement with council's decisions is just not necessary. For every derogatory statement that has been said about Bellevue, I have 10 good things to say about our community. Different opinions and ideas are a good thing and I welcome them. Let's be safe and civil. Please!

Linda Woshner
Bellevue Council President