Townhouse fire in Mississauga is a wake-up call

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Last week tragedy struck at a Mississauga townhouse complex when a couple and their dog were killed allegedly after their gas barbecue exploded and caused a massive fire.

While investigator John Benedetti said the barbecue has yet to be determined as the cause of the fire, investigators are looking at it as a possibility. Other contributing factors could include the presence of aerosol canisters or other combustible material.

With barbecue season around the corner, thousands of Torontonians are taking out their barbecues and getting them ready after months in the garage or in their backyard. However, one needs to ensure that certain safety precautions are taken to prevent a tragedy for occurring.

This is why those investigating this particular fire are using this opportunity to bring home the message that safety comes first.

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Many people barbecue year-round in their garages which may often include combustible material which presents a danger.

Here are a few tips to consider when using a barbecue.

• If your barbecue has been sitting for a long period of time (over winter), it will need to be checked before use. Look for: blocked burners or metal tubes near the burners damaged or leaking fittings and hoses.
• Use a soapy water solution and check for bubbles. If you see bubbles, have the barbecue serviced by an authorized professional and then re-check for leaks.
• Replace cracked or damaged hoses even if they are not leaking.
• Check the seal when you get your barbecue tank refilled and check for leaks after re-installing.
• Also make sure the barbecue and burners are clean and the briquettes do not have a lot of grease buildup.
• Set up your barbecue in a well-ventilated area far away from combustible materials and windows and doors.
• Ensure it is on an even surface to reduce the risk of it tipping over.
• When you use your barbecue, keep the lid open when lighting it.
• If the barbecue does not light right away turn off the gas, wait for the gas to go away before re-lighting
• Never leave a lit grill unattended
• After you are done barbecuing, ensure the gas valve is shut off.
• If you have a charcoal barbecue, make sure the charcoal has cooled down completely before you get rid of it. This could take several hours. – CINEWS

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