Health & Environment Meetings Police & Fire

Grill Regulations on Decks & Balconies

A recent Globe article gears up readers for the summer grilling season. For better or worse, the most relevant section to the roof decks and balconies in the North End/Waterfront neighborhood is the Safety section:

“Safety – Before buying either type of grill, it’s good to be acquainted with safety rules. State law prohibits liquid propane being brought into homes or onto balconies above the first floor – meaning you shouldn’t set up a gas grill on a second- or third-floor balcony.”

“According to Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department, you can set up a gas grill on a first-floor deck – provided that there are stairs leading directly to the deck from the ground, so that you don’t have to pass through the house.”

“Boston fire prevention codes prohibit charcoal grills from being used on building structures including balconies, fire escapes, porches, and roofs. It’s also recommended that grills be kept at least 10 feet away from buildings, and should never be used beneath an overhang that could catch fire.”

“You can find other safety tips on the Boston Fire Department Web page,, or the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services page,”

At recent Public Safety meetings, the Police and residents discussed several problem areas relating mostly to roof deck parties in the North End. Violators can be reported to Inspectional Services at (Customer Service), the Mayor’s Hotline at (617) 635-4500 or to the Problem Properties Taskforce representative.

Thanks to Bob Skole for submitting the article. To submit a story, email