Hillside man dies after backyard fire pit explosion
A man who used an accelerants in his fire pit died after suffering burns to his entire body on Monday afternoon, according to police.
Police said the 56-year-old Warwick Road resident was using the fire pit in his yard around 4 p.m. when the fire suddenly roared and burned him over most of his body. Neighbors tried to help the man before first responders arrived.
Hillside Fire Chief Douglas Ferrigno said that an explosion was heard by neighbors as the fire man poured gasoline into the fire, which somehow went back into the container. The container with the accelerant was completely melted when first responders arrived.
THe chief said that a cleaning lady inside heard the explosion and tried to put the fire out using towels.
The man, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital where he died.
Ferrigno said he hopes this incident serves as a reminder to never use an accelerant when using a fire pit this summer.
Some tips from the New Jersey Chapter of the National Fire Sprinkler Association:
- Check with your local fire department or municipality to make sure fire pits are allowed in your area. Rules can change on a seasonal basis, as dry or windy conditions can affect safety.
- Do not burn trash, leaves, paper, cardboard, or plywood.
- Avoid using soft wood such as pine or cedar that likely pop and throw sparks, use seasoned hardwood or what is recommended by manufacturer.
- Check manufacturer guidelines for properly extinguishing the fire and be sure to have all necessary tools.
- Before starting the fire, make sure that the lid will still close to extinguish the fire in case of emergency. Do not overload.
- Before you light the fire, check the wind direction.
- Fire pits can remain extremely hot into the next day when all embers are burned and the temperature returns to normal.