Our photo post from the top of Old North showing illegal gas and charcoal grills on rooftops continues to gain attention. The latest contribution comes from the editorial page of the Boston Globe.
… gas and charcoal grills on roofs do pose fire hazards, as the blog NorthEndWaterfront.com recently noted. Massachusetts, Boston, and countless other jurisdictions restrict their use because grill fires cause serious damage every year — about 10 deaths, 100 injuries, and $37 million in US residential property losses, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. A 2010 Charlestown fire that destroyed two buildings is evidence that the risk grills pose in dense urban areas isn’t just theoretical.
From there, the Globe editors go off on a tangent, viewing this as a business opportunity for grill manufacturers to reduce the risks so that cities like Boston can loosen their restrictions. Mentioned in our original post but missing from the editorial, we reiterate that electric grills are legal and much safer. Electric isn’t foolproof, but it has no explosive risk, no propane fuel or tank, no hot coals and no open flame. Weber is one grill company that has greatly expanded its electrical grill selections due to city restrictions.
We take objection to the Globe’s characterization of being the “grill police.” We are surprised by the cheap shot from the city’s paper of record that does (or should do) its own share of public safety awareness articles. But then again, we were also surprised and disappointed at the hateful emails and personal threats that came in when we published the post. We specifically avoided naming names or addresses in the article. The post simply pointed out the numerous violations of the city’s ban that has created a substantial public safety hazard.
We gratefully received the support of our neighbors at the Old North Church that also shared their concerns and steeple stairs later that day with WBZ-TV4 on the evening news. To be clear, we are intent on increasing public awareness, but this blog has no intention or desire to do the job of the Fire, Police or Inspectional departments.
As a community project, NorthEndWaterfront.com primarily looks to present news and images in a constructive manner. Our policy is not to post or condone personal attacks. We want to show off the neighborhood and its people in the best way possible which is why we primarily post positive articles and pretty pictures. But, we also know that our readers expect us to show the real North End / Waterfront neighborhood, even when it isn’t so pretty.
Fortunately, the haters were balanced by an outpouring of appreciation from those sincerely concerned about this public safety issue and we thank those folks for their support and encouragement.