Now that the nice weather is slowly starting to ease its way into the Berkshires, many residents will be taking out their grills. An afternoon fire on Sunday in Pittsfield is serving as a reminder for would-be grillers to exercise important safety precautions when doing so.

The Pittsfield Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at 14 Windsor Avenue just after 3:30 Sunday afternoon. According to Deputy Chief Daniel Garner, upon arrival firefighters found a fire on the side of the residence extending to the interior attic void above. The homeowner was found on scene attempting extinguishment it with a garden hose. Crews were able to use a handline to extinguished the flames. Firefighters remained on scene for an hour as the remaining smoldering fire had extended into wall and ceiling spaces near where it began. The owner was able to return to the residence.

The cause of the fire was accidental due to cooking with a grill too close to the home. Damage was estimated at more than $2,000. There were no injuries associated with the fire.

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The fire has prompted the Pittsfield Fire Department to share some outdoor grilling safety tips:

1. Always grill outdoors.

2. Grills must be 10-feet from the side of a building unless the manufacturer's instructions say it can be closer. Make sure grills are not underneath overhanging branches.

3. Grills cannot be used on a porch, balcony or deck with a roof, overhang or wall (other than the exterior of the building).

4. Grills can only be used on open first floor porches, decks or patios if there is an outdoor stairway to the ground, or the porch is at ground level.

5. Grills cannot be used on fire escapes.

6. Place grills away from the house and deck railings.

7. Keep all matches, lighters and lighter fluid away from children.

8. Keep children and pets three feet away from grills. Children should never play near grills or propane cylinders.

Exercising these safety tips can help you avoid a fire of your own this grilling season.

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