2 Fire Pit Incidents Highlight Importance of Outdoor Fire Safety

Motion Blur Stretcher Gurney Patient Hospital Emergency
A 45-year-old male resident of Dix Hills, NY, was airlifted to a hospital late on March 12 after he was badly burned in a fire pit explosion, Newsday reported.

A gas can was apparently placed next to the fire, exploding around 9:40 p.m. The man suffered first- and second-degree burns on his upper body, hands, and face.

He was first treated by local EMTs and paramedics, then transported to Stony Brook University Hospital via helicopter. Police say that he is expected to survive, despite the serious nature of his injuries.

This is the second incident involving a fire pit that has made headlines this month alone.

On March 2, it was reported that a fire that spread from a pit outside a Lincoln, NE, home had displaced the resident and caused about $40,000 in damage. The home was most recently valued at $52,000, according to the Lincoln Journal-Star.

In that case, the propane-fed fire spread to a home addition due to the wind. Once fire crews arrived on the scene, they were able to cut into the roof of the house and control the flames in about 12 minutes.

Fire Safety Tips
Especially as warmer weather prompts homeowners to spend more time outside, it’s important to remember some basic tips that can allow for safe enjoyment of outdoor fires.

Outdoor fires should always be contained in a fire pit or similar fixture, and should be at least 10 feet away from vegetation or structures of any kind. Homeowners should have a garden hose and bucket of water standing ready beforestarting a fire.

And, as HGTV recommends regarding fire safety in outdoor fixtures, one of the simplest safety measures to take is limiting the size of outdoor fires: “There’s no need for a blazing bonfire, and the bigger the fire, the greater the potential for disaster.”

“Landscaping companies should be telling their customers about the safety hazards of wood burning fire pits,” Tom Rother, owner of Lawn & Leisure. “They need to be completely extinguished before leaving the site, or a screen needs to be put over it. Having pavers underneath the pit also prevents discoloring your deck. Gas fire pits are often much safer than wood because they can be completely and immediately extinguished after use.”