A 27-year-old woman was grilling hot dogs when her barbecue grill exploded and burned down her town home.
Firefighters arrived at the Foothills home around 7:45 p.m. Sunday and brought the blaze under control in 19 minutes, said Capt. Adam Goldberg of the Northwest Fire/Rescue District.
The residence - in the 600 block of East Camino Alteza, near North First Avenue and East River Road- was totally destroyed, Goldberg said.
The woman went inside briefly during cooking and came out to find flames around the propane tank of the patio barbecue. She tried to smother the fire with a towel, which firefighters believe caused the blaze to spread to her home.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but officials believe it was a gas leak or mechanical failure with the tank or hose assembly, Goldberg said.
The woman and her roommate are displaced, and damages are estimated at $60,000, Goldberg said.
Two other townhomes nearby were smoke-damaged, with one neighbor also displaced due to smoke and electrical damage.
With the arrival of the summer grilling season, officials say barbecue users should check to make sure their equipment is in good working order.
People can pour soapy water over the unit to check for leaks - bubbles mean gas is escaping where it shouldn't, Goldberg said.
Keeping a fire extinguisher nearby could also save your home, Goldberg said.
"Using a fire extinguisher may have changed the size and direction of this fire," Goldberg said.