Tonawanda fire highlights need for propane safety

Grill too close to home causes extensive damage as two people barely escape
Posted at 6:28 PM, Jun 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 18:28:47-04

CITY OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — An early-morning fire on Moyle Avenue in the City of Tonawanda is believed to have started after a propane grill was accidentally left on too close to a home.

That sparked a blaze that then overheated two propane tanks right next to the house.

When propane tank pressure safety valves opened to release the gas, it created a blow-torch effect into a basement window.

The city fire chief said two people were lucky to get out after one heard a smoke alarm.

Damage is estimated at $120,000 and the house is not currently livable.

Red Cross officials are now helping an older man and another man in his 20's.

It is also highlighting the importance of propane safety.

"Too many people just turn on their gas grills without checking them after winter," said Erie County Deputy Fire Coordinator Chris Couell, who added, "There are some things you have to do - maintenance things."


-Check hoses for cracks.
-Check the grill connector that screws onto your propane tank for deterioration/cracks in O-rings. Problems here can cause leaks.
-Check burners for clogged holes, extreme rust or insect nests.
-Clean out old grease.
-Check propane tanks for dents, heavy rust or old fill valves (flower shaped knobs). Only tanks with newer style valves can be refilled.
-Remember that 20lb propane tanks are only good for 12 years from date of manufacture.


-Keep grills 10 feet away from homes.
-Don't use propane grills in enclosed spaces like garages or porches.
-Avoid using grills on decks because sparks can fall.
-Make sure to close propane tank valves when done cooking.
-Leave your grill on for a few minutes after you are done cooking with the top down to cook-off buildup (Similar to cleaning your inside oven using high heat).
-Disconnect your propane tank if not using the grill for long periods of time.
-Always store propane tanks outside.
-Never drive long distances with a propane tank in your vehicle.
-Keep full propane tanks out of direct sun.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in the attached clip.