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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor

SUBJECT: Fire Code Restrictions Temporarily Dropped on Barbecuing at Condos and Apartments

6/11/2004  4:02:00 PM
Kellie Randall  (206) 386-1335

Fire Code Restrictions Temporarily Dropped
on Barbecuing at Condos and Apartments

Use of charcoal and propane fueled barbecues will be legal on decks and patios of apartments and condominiums in Washington State until further notice as a result of emergency action taken today in Spokane by the State Building Code Council. The emergency repeal means that new barbecue regulations will not go into effect at this time. The issue will be revisited when the SBCC meets in the fall.

Prior to today’s action, the International Fire Code, which goes into effect state-wide on July 1, 2004 had limited the use of charcoal barbecues at apartments and condominiums with combustible decks, or within 10 feet of combustible construction, to those decks and balconies protected by fire sprinklers. The new code also limited the size of propane fuel containers for barbecues on decks and balconies of apartments and condominiums to those weighing one pound or less. The State Building Code Council’s action today allows use of the standard sized propane barbecue fuel tank, as well as use of charcoal barbecues.

While local jurisdictions have the option to enact stricter fire and building code provisions than those approved by the State Building Code Council, Seattle fire officials do not intend to propose barbecue regulations. Seattle Fire Chief Gregory Dean said, ‘for those who want to barbecue, regardless of whether they are in a private home or a multi-family occupancy, we recommend the use of the smaller one-pound propane cylinders as the least hazardous fuel source." He also encouraged citizens to visit the Seattle Fire Department’s web page at for tips on grilling safety.

Chief Dean also said that apartment building owners and condominium associations, through lease agreements and owner’s association rules, may still prohibit use of barbecues. Today’s action temporarily removes the regulations pertaining to use of barbecues from the fire code that establishes the minimum safety provisions throughout Washington State.

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Seattle Fire Department

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