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Should the city ban open-flame grills on apartment porches?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on March 13, 2007

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Photo of Amanda Look

“Yes, they should, because a lot of apartments have porches that are really close together and could catch fire easily. Besides, most of them have some kind of lawn they can use anyway.”

Photo of Ryan Soyez

“I think fire holds great responsibility, but I think people are up to the task. I think people really just need to be responsible for their own actions.”

Photo of Amanda Bryson

“That’s hard to say. I think most people can handle the risk, but unfortunately there are those out there who cannot.”

Photo of Brad Parker

“On wooden porches, yes. On porches with a stone or concrete base, I think it should be fine.”


jonas 10 years ago

I'm going to write "The Ban Song" and send it to the city commission. Help me come up with fitting lyrics.

jonas 10 years ago

"hhheeeeyooooo is it bothering you? (ban it!!!) "hhheeeeyooooo is it a problem for you? (ban it!!!) "Take a little bit of danger, you know who knows best! "You couldn't possibly ever measure up to the test! "We'll take care of you, just sit back and let it pass! "Just sit back, relax, and take it up the (ban it!!!)

I think that's the chorus.

Crossfire 10 years ago

There is nothing better on a warm evening than the smell of A aliphatic petroleum solvent, charcoal and burning swine flesh wafting into your livingroom from the deck blow. Yum-yum...

Crossfire 10 years ago

There is nothing better on a warm evening than the smell of A aliphatic petroleum solvent, charcoal and burning swine flesh wafting into your livingroom from the deck below. Yum-yum...

Kat Christian 10 years ago

OMG what is wrong with Kansas? Obvisouly someone is asleep at the switch. State of Maryland band the use of grills on Apartment balcanies over 15 years ago because of it being a fire hazard and because people don't use common sense. DUH!! The rule is several feet from any structure.

geekin_topekan 10 years ago

State of Maryland band +++ Weren't they opening the first day of woodstock?

Crossfire 10 years ago

...what's that smell? ...formaldehyde resin and pressed wood? ...sirens?

geekin_topekan 10 years ago

When a good time comes along{you must ban it!) A cookout at your home(you must ban it!) When nothing's going wrong(you must ban it!)

Thats the best i can do at this hour.But try singing this to Devo's "Whip it".

geekin_topekan 10 years ago

Swine flesh tamales!Gotta have 'em!!

jonas 10 years ago

That would make a good bridge to the last verse after the solo, which should probably be played by an accordian.

/and cowbell. More cowbell.

leadrain 10 years ago

SUnshine NOise

 we went to the fire department last summer to see if we needed a permit to have a fire-pit in my buds back yard, they told us 50 feet from any structure.

sunflower_sue 10 years ago

I think they should only allow concealed flames. A mandatory class and a $100 permit should be required to have a concealed flame. Oh, and a passport.

concernedparent 10 years ago

Of course they should. Why not, they ban everything else.

Flap Doodle 10 years ago

Before 7:00AM, the word swine had been used on this board. This could be a good day. Pork sodas for everybody!

Ceallach 10 years ago

Is a word swine anything like a river nerd?

Kat Christian 10 years ago

Thank you leadrain for setting me straight.

RonBurgandy 10 years ago

Ban people who can't pay attention long enough to keep their grill under control.

I do, however, have my grill on my concrete patio, not on the upstairs wood deck (although it would be so much nicer than having to walk all the way down the stairs with the plate of food trying to avoid the dog while holding a beer) because I am concerned with possible fire hazards. It might make sense, but I know a lot of people who are responsible enough to avoid any danger.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years ago

Everyone is all "anti-ban", but do you remember how quickly the Boardwalk fire got out of control? A grill fire would have produced similar results.

Ceallach 10 years ago

If I read the article correctly the ban would only affect those apartments with wooden deck/porch/things or ground level apartments with such structures directly above their grill. Maybe I'm missing something but that seems reasonable to me.

trinity 10 years ago

snap i'll have one o'them pork sodas&maybe a bag of piggie pops as a side.

ban stupid people. ban peccaries.

jonas your songwriting abilities are astounding, dude. you just rock! :)

Grundoon Luna 10 years ago

I went out to the bar then I paniced (paniced) I wanted a cig but they banned it (banned it) I wanted to grill by my hammock (hammock) I can't have a fire 'cuz they banned it, damn it!! How could you-u-u-u-u!?!

Sung to the tune of, "Damn it, Janet" from Rocky Horror.

Try to balance personal freedoms and safety here, and I think safety is winning.

Flap Doodle 10 years ago

We got some potential rock & roll hall of famers on the board today.

jonas 10 years ago

"Posted by OldEnuf2BYurDad (anonymous) on March 13, 2007 at 8:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Everyone is all "anti-ban", but do you remember how quickly the Boardwalk fire got out of control? A grill fire would have produced similar results."

Similar results as arson? A grill fire might have interested parties trying to put it out, wouldn't you think?

Jaminrawk 10 years ago

After the Boardwalk Apartments fire, I'm surprised anyone would say that they were ok with people grilling anything on these ancient wood apartment complexes. I for one wouldn't want to go to sleep, living on the third floor, knowing that someone, possibly drunk, is grilling on a charcoal grill at three in the morning. This would actually be a ban that made sense.

person184 10 years ago

Love your new song, Geekin! I think Devo would approve.

SpeedRacer 10 years ago

I propose a banned day parade to coincide with the annual Band Day parade.

Linda Endicott 10 years ago

Anyone who would grill on any wooden surface (porch, deck) is an absolute idiot.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of absolute idiots out there.

And Jonas, just because there might be people there trying to put out the fire doesn't mean they would be successful doing so, does it? Many a life has been lost trying to put out fires that rapidly got out of control.

Sounds to me like the logical thing would be to avoid having the possibility of fire to begin with.

Emily Hadley 10 years ago

Open burning is banned in the city without an approved permit, and the permits are very specific about conditions for safe burning.

How many people do you know who measure wind speed before starting a grill? I have seen BBQ grills blow completely over, as well as seeing the metal legs on a small grill slip between wooden planks on a deck, dumping coals and embers on that deck and the one below.

I think most of us agree that we don't want our neighbors starting bonfires or burning trash next door, even in a small yard. Grills can be safer, but can also be just as dangerous as any other fire.

Regulating fire is just a compromise of living in tight quarters.

Flap Doodle 10 years ago

Hear the piggies with the bells Silver bells. What a world of merriment their melody foretells How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle In the icy air of night Where the stars that oversprinkle all the heavens Seem to winkle with a swinish delight......

Grundoon Luna 10 years ago

Emily, I think you may be confusing "open burning," like in a field or yard, with "controlled buring," a fire in a grill barrel, or pit. I don't think the city defines all these the same, ergo, the 50 ft spacing between a pit fire and a structure.

Bone777 10 years ago

The individual apartment complex, should ban open flame grills on apartment porches.

The 'common' sense of the individual should ban open flame grills on apartment porches.

The city should ban themselves from trying to ban every act of stupidity.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years ago

"A grill fire might have interested parties trying to put it out, wouldn't you think?"

Not if they are asleep. A buddy of mine once let his grill cool down overnight. When he woke the next morning, there was a HOLE in his deck. The deck had caught fire, but then the fire didn't sustain itself. He had to replace several boards.

How lucky is that?

That crazy dude burned down Boardwalk with nothing more than a paper fire. Charcoal is way hotter burning than that.

useta 10 years ago

(to the tune of The Christmas Song)

Acorns and squirrles roasting because of your fire... Johnny Cop slapping you with fines..... Your food has to be burned while you cook inside or at least on an electric stove......

.......Happy Electric Grilling to youuuuuuuuuuuu!

BigDog 10 years ago

I am surprised Lawrence still has things left to ban. I thought they had already placed a banon just about anything that people could enjoy.

trinity 10 years ago

my question is this; just how many imbeciles will try to grill inSIDE their apartment should this ban be enacted?

i'm rather lukewarm on the whole deal; sounds like it probably(the ban)wouldn't be a bad idea but it saddens me that soooo many bans have to be enacted just 'cos there are way too many dingdongs in the world. sigh

sunflower_sue 10 years ago

prospector..ding, ding ding! You win! I much prefer permits. I have many 'o leaves to burn today but I won't bother calling the sherrif's office because they won't issue me a permit. I can already tell you it's much too windy outside. As Pooh would say..."It's blustery!" I'll be content piling them up knowing that I can incinerate on the next "not too windy, not too dry" day in KS. I think I'll go fly a kite...unless it's too windy.

beatrice 10 years ago

Using the word "ban" just gets people all cranky. It conjures up smoking and fireworks "bans." Why not use "outlaw" or "make illegal?" The way some people overreact at the word, if you told them the city commish "banned" theft or drunken driving they would be against it.

I think they should ban the LJWorld from using insightful language in the reporting of stories that don't adhere to the editor's right-wing ideology.

beatrice 10 years ago

oops -- Yes, incite - not insight. My bad.

dajudge 10 years ago

What kind of grill is banned? Charcoal? Gas? Electric? What about chimeneas? And indoor fireplaces? How about smoking in restaurants and bars? And just lighting a match and setting some lighter fluid on fire to watch the ground burn? What about those cast iron grills you can put on your stovetop? Are those banned, but only if you use it on your deck? I'm so happy!!!! I suppose next, we can't even blow our nose loudly.

Alison Roberts 10 years ago

Okay, so I lived at Boardwalk just before the buildings burned down...and yeah, because the tennants left their GAS grills on their WOODEN porches was a HUGE reason the building went up in flames so rapidly. Of course the apartments management wouldnt say that.. they never enforced the "no grills on the porch" rule.

still pisses me off.

denak 10 years ago

Personally, I think they should just ban summer. First fireworks and now possibly grills. Sheeesh, can't people have fun anymore.

Crossfire 10 years ago

I'm looking for some investors in the William Clarke Quantrill Highrise Condominium Complex. Quality living starting at One Million Dollars. They will be owned by the occupants thus exempt from the oppression of the Grilling on the Deck Ban.

Unchain The Fire, and Set Them Webers Free.

beatrice 10 years ago

Boo hoo, I can't have any fun any more, boo hoo.

I swear, all the crocodile tears falling around here today would be enough to overflow the River Nerd.

You may not be able to grill outside or smoke inside, but something you can still do is check out this create-your-own Jackson Pollock website. Enjoy!

beatrice 10 years ago

Don't forget to click the cursor to change colors.

Linda Endicott 10 years ago

How many imbeciles do you think are already trying to grill INSIDE their apartments now, trinity, during the winter?

There are a lot of idiots out there. I've heard of people who tried to grill in their garage in the winter, and almost asphyxiated themselves.

budwhysir 10 years ago

Why not ban candles in your house and make it complete how bout requiring a special permit to live on private property

budwhysir 10 years ago


no property tax is not a special permit. If one lives in some type of rental property, they are not subject to property tax. My idea would require a special permit to live anywhere that would be considered private property. You wouldnt have to own the property to be required to post the permit. Thanks for your support on my idea

Flap Doodle 10 years ago

"Excuse me, citizen, do you have a permit for that paring knife in your kitchen drawer?"

jonas 10 years ago

"Posted by budwhysir (anonymous) on March 13, 2007 at 7:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why not ban candles in your house and make it complete how bout requiring a special permit to live on private property"

Yes, this is a good idea. I think we should call it a "property tax."

sunflower_sue 10 years ago

bea, thanks! Now I have a template for the huge Jackson Pollock that I'm going to make on my neighbors house. (My daughter actually liked it so well she had me print it out.) We are up way past beddy bye time, but just got back from "Riverdance" and it was soooo way cooler than the original show! Our fav. part was the "tap off" between the Irish and the Jazz tappers. Great humor. (And one member of the cast looked eerily like was creepy!) 'Course the Phelps klan was out in force. They were singing. I thought they were against singing because it was considered by them to be a gay thing to do???

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