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Fire Marshal's Office
Grill Safety for Apartments and Condominiums
What are the dangers of using charcoal grills, gasoline stove and similar devices if I live in an apartment building, condo or other multi-family residence with a balcony?
  • No charcoal cooker, smoker, grill or any gasoline or liquefied petroleum gas-fired stove or similar device should be ignited or used on the balconies or spaces under balconies of multi-family dwellings, nor in a similar manner in any occupancy.
  • Electric grills are permitted; however, as with any cooking device caution should be used.
  • Charcoal cookers, smokers, grills, or any gasoline or liquefied petroleum gas-fired stove or similar device should be used safely--not less than 15 feet from any structure. Electric grills are exempt from this distance requirement.
  • The management of multi-family dwellings having balconies shall notify their tenants in writing of this requirement at the time the tenant initially occupies the area, and from time to time thereafter as may be necessary to reasonably insure compliance.

What are some of the rules and restrictions I should know if I am the manager, owner or responsible party for an apartment, condo or other multi-family residence?  

  1. No amount of flammable liquids in any type container should be kept in tenant storerooms
  2. Amounts required for maintenance operations may be kept by the management if in proper containers. For portable containers, this would be safety cans.
  3. If an amount greater than five gallons is required, it must be kept in a proper container in an inside storage room. The storage room should have a one hour fire resistive construction, proper electrical and heating equipment, vents, explosion relief, etc.
  4. Fire doors must not be blocked open. This includes doors opening onto stairwells, fire doors dividing basements and other sections of the building, furnace doors, storage room doors, access to trash chute rooms, and similar locations. It is strongly recommended such doors be marked with an appropriate sign, such as "FIRE DOOR, DO NOT BLOCK OPEN." This could be either a sign attached to the door or painted directly on the door. Such signs will be required where continued violations are found.
  5. No storage is permitted in stairwells and exit ways. This includes bicycles, tricycles and baby carriages in particular.
  6. No storage of any type is permitted in heating and air conditioning rooms of those apartments having individual units.
  7. Storage rooms must be kept in a neat and orderly condition. Old newspapers, rubbish, and trash shall not be stored unless in covered metal containers.
  8. Lint from dryers is also a possible fire hazard.. Commercial dryers must have a vent from the drying chamber directly to the outside. When ordinary home dryers are used and lint is not properly disposed, outside venting will be required.
  9. Apartment building numbers must be clearly posted and visible from the street.
  10. It is required that all smoke detectors and portable fire extinguishers be tested annually. A written record of these inspections must be kept on file, and a copy of the annual inspection of all smoke detectors must be forwarded to the Fire Marshal's Office.
  11. Upon written request of the occupant to the owner, a smoke detector assigned for the deaf or hearing impaired must be furnished to all occupants who are hearing impaired or deaf. 



The owner/occupant shall be responsible for the safe and proper maintenance of the building, structure, premises, or lot at all times. In all new and existing buildings and structures, the fire protection equipment, means of egress, fire and smoke alarms, devices and safeguards required by the fire prevention code and other jurisdictional ordinances, shall be maintained in a safe and proper operating condition.




If an occupant of a building creates conditions in violation of the fire prevention code by virtue of improper storage, handling and use of substances, materials, devices and appliances, the occupant can be held responsible for the abatement or removal of such conditions.


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