CAMAS, WA (KOIN) – Every year in the United States, 9,000 house fires are started by barbecue grills. A Camas woman almost lost more than her house when her grill exploded–she almost lost her life.

“I’m just really grateful to still be here,” says Tiffany Morgan. “My hair was burned, my eyebrows, eyelashes, my face, my hands and my arms.”

Morgan and a friend were grilling recently when her friend brought over a pre-filled tank to use, but it didn’t quite fit.

“I asked him to kind of fiddle with it, and he said, ‘It sounds like there is a slow leak.'”

A small burst of flame came out and he pushed the barbecue away from the house.

“I thought, I need to turn that off before it blows up and I only got a couple feet out the doorway before it blew up.”

The fireball was so big, it burned trees 3 stories up. Morgan instinctively covered her face with her hands. Her arms were badly burned.

“The fire department had to come and I thought when they were here that I was still on fire. I felt I was on fire for a couple days,” she says. “I would never barbecue without a fire extinguisher nearby again.”

Camas-Washougal Fire Marshal Ron Shumacher agrees and has additional safety tips.

“We recommend having a spray bottle nearby to get the flames down if they do grow on you.” His other tips include:

  • Make sure the lid is open when you turn on the gas
  • Keep the barbecue away from structures and other combustibles
  • Keep the grill clean to avoid grease fires
  • Make sure the hose is secure
  • Keep water nearby

Both Shumacher and Morgan say, call the fire department at any sign of trouble.

“I should have backed away,” says Morgan.

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