Smoldering briquettes used one month ago spark apartment fire


With grilling season here, the dangers of fires are on the rise and a recent local fire proves it. It happened in Pullman and officials said the briquettes were used a month ago!

The barbequers thought they were out, little briquettes used to grill but on Sunday morning around 10:30 the Pullman Fire Department got a call for a reported deck fire off of Terre View Drive. The apartment tenants came out to the deck and saw a two-by-two spot on the corner was on fire.

“They got put out by a fire extinguisher for the most part, but when we got there, there was embers underneath and it got up into the siding,” said Pullman Fire Chief, Mike Heston.

The cause of the fire? Smoldering briquettes, used about a month ago.

Fire Chief Mike Heston said he’s never seen anything like this in his career.

“There is some research that wet briquettes can spontaneously combust in the right conditions,” said Chief Heston. “There's warnings on the bags about if your charcoal gets wet, it needs to be stored dry.”

The size of a briquette is about as big as a stone, but the fire department found them about the size of a pebble, and even then that is large enough to start a fire.

Chief Heston said the best way to dispose of the briquettes would be to just leave them in the barbeque and let them cool down or soak them in a bucket of water. What not to do: don’t put them in the dumpster.

Chief Heston said, “We've had lots of incidents of people putting them in the dumpsters after the fact and the dumpsters catching on fire, we've had people putting them in containers next to the building and a day or so later they catch on fire.

The Pullman Fire Department said gas grills are safer than briquettes. That’s what they use at both fire stations for their barbeques.

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