In December 2012, Hannah Storm was badly burned while preparing to cook dinner for her children. After wind blew out the flame, propane gas pooled on her grill and became an explosive fireball when Storm attempted to re-ignite it. Only the instinct to close her eyes upon seeing the flame saved her corneas, but her face, neck, chest and hands suffered first- and second-degree burns.
According to NFPA, flammable or combustible gas or liquid was the item first ignited in half of home outdoor grill fires.
Storm feels that it is “important to tell and share this story because it was a very simple mistake that I made, but it was a very common mistake. People all over the world grill and they grill all the time, and most of the people that I know really don't understand the proper procedures…”
“Fires and burn injuries are not only traumatic for the person, but for the family and community as well,” says Lorraine Carli, vice president of Communications at NFPA. “Hannah is very courageous to share the personal details of her fire experience and burn injury to remind the public to take steps to prevent fires and avoid injuries.”
Grilling facts from NFPA
Be sure to use safe grilling practices as the peak months for grilling fires approach – June and July. Gas grills constitute a higher risk, having been involved in an annual average of 7,100 home fires in 2006-2010, while charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in an annual average of 1,200 home fires.
Facts & figures
- In 2006-2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,600 home and outside fires. These 8,600 fires caused an annual average of 10 civilian deaths, 140 civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage.
- More than one-quarter (28%) of the home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, 28% started on an exterior balcony or open porch, and 6% started in the kitchen.
- Flammable or combustible gas or liquid was the item first ignited in almost half of home outdoor grill fires. In almost half (46%) of the home outdoor fires in which grills were involved, 53% of the outside gas grills, and 26% of gas grill structure fires, the fire started when a flammable or combustible gas or liquid caught fire.
Source: NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment," by Marty Ahrens, November 2012.
Also see: Fact sheet on home fires involving grills (PDF, 41 KB)
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