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.

Read the full Globe editorial, Illegal rooftop grills point to sizzling business opportunity.

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.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry to hear you got flamed, Matt, if you'll pardon the expression. The work you're doing is community journalism at its best. Keep up the good work!

  2. If the person who wrote this Boston Globe editorial had actually read your post, he/she would have known that the Vicar of the Old North Church was the one who was expressing his concern for the historical property he is charged with protecting.

    Sorry the people who apparantly only care about themselves chose to threaten you. Most of the neighborhood appreciates the work you do to keep us all informed about the good, bad and ugly goings on in the North End.

    If people do not know it is illegal to have an open flame above the ground floor, then the Realtors who rent a unit in a building with a roofdeck should inform the landlords and the tenants of the city regulations as part of the lease. It is very easy to download from the city website. No more "I didn't know excuses". Anyone who gets caught with a gas or charcoal grill after that will only have "I don't care" as a reason for ignoring the regulations.

  3. Joyce, I couldn't agree more. And Matt, your invaluable contributions to the North End are greatly appreciated!

  4. I’m sure the person or persons who wrote the Globe article do not live in the city where this is one of if not the greatest fear we who have called the Northend home all our lives and those who are now raising their families here now have. Thanks Matt.

  5. Matt , Did this reporter not see the TV coverage of the fire in Charlestown caused by a gas grill.Thank God there was no loss of life. Let him interview the people directly impacted from this fire, there is no such thing as using a gas grill responsably (sp) on a ROOF. Keep up the good work.

    • Way to Go Maryanne….They just don't get it!!!…If they want to grill, let them buy a house out of town with a backyard!…

  6. Matt , Did this reporter not see the TV coverage of the fire in Charlestown caused by a gas grill.Thank God there was no loss of life. Let him interview the people directly impacted from this fire, there is no such thing as using a gas grill responsably (sp) on a ROOF. Keep up the good work.

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