Propane barbecue blamed for $460K blaze

A family of seven is homeless after a propane barbecue burst into flames, shooting fire from a backyard patio until it spread to ignite their south-side home.

“It can’t be, it just can’t be,” said Cathy Bennett, who owns the house near Bonny Doon Shopping Centre. “When I walked in the door and saw it was our house, I just about died.”

No one was injured in the blaze on Connors Road, which began shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday, but Bennett feared the worst when she saw the flames had consumed most of the property.


“I could see clouds of dark, dirty brown, billowing smoke going up into the sky,” Bennett’s husband Don recalled.

Their daughter and her children have been living at the residence, but she was out of town when the fire started.

The Bennetts, who bought the house in 1963, had been visiting their grandchildren and were returning from Safeway with ice cream moments before the fire began.

Fire crews were en route to the residence and everyone was already out of the house and watching the blaze from the sidewalk when they arrived back at the home.

At least eight sets of firefighters battled the blaze all night before the home was boarded up early yesterday morning. Two firefighters were taken to hospital for heat exhaustion while another cut his hand on broken glass.

Neighbours comforted the family as they packed up belongings and stared at the blackened ruins of their former home from the front lawn yesterday.

The family has found temporary accommodations. Damage from the blaze is estimated at $460,000.

Flames spread quickly

  • Fire officials believe the blaze originated in a propane barbecue when overheated grease ignited, shooting flames up the side of the garage until it spread quickly through the home, gutting the residence.

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