Fire Department Offers Grilling Advice

The East Hampton Fire Department kept busy during the weekend before the Fourth of July, with some 20 calls between Friday and Monday morning, including six small blazes, four of which were barbecue grill fires and one of which resulted in minor burns.

"The department would like to remind residents to take the time to clean their B.B.Q. grills of excess grease buildup and any other debris that may have accumulated around them during the off-season," Fire Chief Gerard Turza said on Monday.

The chief also recommended that homeowners check to ensure that the connection to the gas supply is secure and that all components are in proper working order before lighting the grill.

Nearly 60 percent of residential fires starting from grills occur from May through August, according to the Firemen's Association of the State of New York. Propane grills offer particular danger.

"With so many using propane grills -- usually without incident -- it's easy to forget that propane can be dangerous, even deadly, if basic safety precautions aren't followed," the association's website states. "Safety precautions people routinely flout [are] keeping their grills too close to their homes and failing to properly maintain them."

Grills should be at least 10 feet from a house when in use and propane grills should not be used on any combustible surface like a wooden deck. The association notes that a concrete pad works best.