Summer Fire Safety Notice: Grilling, Outdoor Fires, and More

A charred porch illustrates the danger of using a grill on a balcony, which is prohibited in Somerville.

The Somerville Fire Department is reminding residents that the use of charcoal, wood or propane grills is not allowed on porches, balconies, fire escapes or roofs. Propane tanks are not allowed to be stored in or on any residential building at any time. Grills should be kept clean to prevent grease fires. Grilling should be done on ground level, ten feet away from any combustible walls or structures. Grills should not be used under any overhangs. Never leave a grill burning unattended. Outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, and chimineas are prohibited in the City of Somerville.

Somerville is a densely populated city, with an older housing stock predominantly constructed of wood frame dwellings which are built closely together. With this density of the houses, it is imperative that all outside burning and fires are prohibited to prevent fires from starting and spreading to multiple houses. All fires used for cooking should be on a charcoal briquette grill or a propane gas grill.

If residents observe violations, they should not hesitate to contact the Somerville Fire Department by calling 617-623-1500.

More Grill Safety Tips

  • Keep an ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher close by in case of a fire.
    • These types of extinguishers are best because they can be used on gas, oils, and flammable liquids.
    • Never throw water onto a grease fire. Use salt, baking soda, or sand to smother the fire if you do not have an extinguisher. Call 911 immediately.
  • Always make sure your grill has cooled completely before storing it.
  • Only dispose of coals and ashes in a metal bin, and only after they have cooled for 48 hours.

Violations and Fines

If firefighters respond to your home for one of the above-listed fires they will ask you to extinguish the fire and advise you that this type of fire is prohibited in the City of Somerville.

If repeat calls are made to the same unit for repeated offenses, you will be subjected to fines by the Somerville Fire Department. 

Somerville Massachusetts Fire & Rescue