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Illegal Roof Deck Grills Causing Concern In North End

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) There’s growing frustration from the leaders of a historic Boston Church over blatant disregard for the law.

Reverend Steve Ayers, the Vicar of the Old North Church says he has a perfect view that he’s sick of looking at – illegal grills on roof decks in the congested North End.

“One if by land two if by sea is not talking about how many gas grills to put on your roof,” he said.

Ayers allowed WBZ-TV to climb up to the steeple to see the dozen illegal grills surrounding the historic church.

This issue was first pointed out by northendwaterfront.com.

“Grills on roof decks are against the law and for good reason, they’re dangerous,” Ayer said. “There are propane grills, and even charcoal grills in plain sight. Just a couple sparks from that on a rubber roof deck, the building’s gone.”

Two years ago, an unattended gill sparked a fire in Charlestown that destroyed two buildings.

Ayers lives right down the road, and says he had soot in his home.

“Fortunately no one was killed,” he said.

By state law, grills are not allowed above the first floor of a home or building. Boston has an additional regulation restricting charcoal grills above ground level.

An exception allows people to keep grills on their decks that are hooked up to piped-in natural gas, as opposed to a tank.

The Boston Fire Department is in charge of policing the problem, but spokesperson Steve MacDonald says it’s an issue of resources, because there are so many illegal grills.

“We get complains all the time and send inspectors out and to get the grills off the roof,” MacDonald said.

Ayers is hoping the city, condo associations and the public will do more.

“We’re not trying to be a nudge and say don’t have fun on your roof deck, but this is a real safety issue,” he said. “You are endangering yourself, you are endangering your neighbors and you’re endangering the community.”

You can follow Karen Anderson on Twitter @KarenReports.

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