I was once still talking with a woman, while seated in front of a fire pit. We were at a party, and I had no idea how much she’d had to drink. When she stood up, she fell and came so close to falling onto the edge of the fire pit, I screamed! You know how many fire pits have a little ledge that goes around the rim? The way she fell, I don’t know how she didn’t hit that rim and flip the thing on top of herself. She was too drunk to be worried, but I was pretty shaken up!
I am convinced that I need to pull out the fire pit, but I am not totally convinced I should pull out the propane barbecue. I agree my lawyer would tell Me to pull that out too. We do have separate short term rental insurance and need to rereview the terms on that.
Really want to say how much I have learned from this forum in the last few weeks. Tons of info a STR owner should know—battles, politics, snarky comments, digressions and all. Still have a lot to learn…
We do not allow open flames or fires of any kind here. No smoking etc. One guest brought and used her little grill and I was horrified. Maybe they are the only ones I caught! .075% . Many guests have asked politely if there is one but its just tough luck or find another place if it is so important, which one group did that. Usually I have the conversation with guests about the famous Woolsey Fire which started nearby, and burned 35 miles straight to the sea devastating many neighborhoods…
I don’t have any fire danger where my Weber charcoal grill is located, and I tell guests that they are welcome to throw something on IF I’ve got it lit. No starter fluid, just a stovepipe starter using a crumpled newspaper.
I’ve only had 3 take up my offer — Aussie, Texan, and Japanese. It’s Alaska, so it was always salmon.
Grill and fire pits are unfortunately expected in some markets - the Catskills being one of them. In the Adirondacks, too.
I have a small charcoal grill. I’ve had people ask if I had one and also specifically request it but no one has ever used it.
I’m surrounded by forest in a town with a volunteer fire department and no city water (so no fire hydrants). A fire would be a nightmare at my old wooden house! I did have a group recently make a fire in the backyard right on the grass. They put it out with the metal lid to the trash can. I know because it was scorched and warped. The they carefully gathered an intact and round (lid-shaped!) carpet of moss and placed it over the blackened area to hide the evidence.
I have both a fire pit and barbeque and hot tub. No trouble except one guest and the hot tub. We had to empty it. I live c on the other side of the house and when in my bedroom can hear and see the fire pit. I supply everything and marshmallows. I did not leave the fire pit grill. They can bbq. Or roast hot dogs on the sticks I provide. I also live in the country, have no fire protection and neighbors are far away. I also have the yard completely fenced for the guests dogs and little ones. The fire pit is a very much enjoyed amenity guests come for.
Sometimes guests can really surprise you with what they will do. The first guest I let self-check-in (because they were arriving at 1:30 am), looked at the already-built fire in the fireplace and decided it would be romantic to have a fire. So they lit the fire. At 2 am I heard beep, beep, beep . . . beep, beep, beep. The only noise I can hear from the downstairs unit in my duplex is the smoke detector. When I opened my back door to go down and inspect, the outside back door was open and there was smoke pouring out the back door. I went down to see what had happened and found the young woman pouring a glass of water on the still-smoldering fire while the young man ran around trying to open the windows (this was February in Minnesota–storm windows on every window). Smoke was all over the place and filled the tops of the rooms down to about chin level. It seems they were from Florida and did not know about opening the flue. Obviously my fault for pre-building the fire.
My house rules at the time said I was to be present for the first fire (so I could do some educating). They were young and didn’t read them. Since they were here for the Super Bowl, there were no other places for them to go so they finished their stay, to my great financial advantage. They did do a lot of work cleaning the place up. After that I did not pre-build the fire and I put a tent card on the mantle saying to contact me before having a fire (in case they bought a log from Super America).
My STR is in Santa Fe. High desert environment, large gravel back yard. I have a conversation table/ fire pit. Never had problems. Propane grill that a lot of guests have communicated they loved. It’s not in my photos or listing info so it’s an added surprise when guests arrive. Took about a year to go through one tank.
What was your review of them like? Did you have to do interior repainting? What a sh*t show.
I was very lucky in that the only damage was a mild smokey smell. I have a fairly powerful fan that I put in a window, once I got a storm open, to clear the smoke. It was a bit cold in there for a while. No need to repaint. They used Fabreeze and some other odiferous things on it, which left other smells. I had one day before my next guest, and I used a product called Atmosklear Odor Eliminator, available on Amazon, to get rid of the perfumey smells. BTW, it works wonders on animal smells or any unpleasant smell.
Since they worked hard (and spent money buying products to freshen the air) to clean the place up, and put up with the cold from airing the place out, I gave them a good review, suggesting privately that they should read the house rules next time. They were good sports about it and they didn’t quibble about paying the full bill for a Super Bowl reservation which was really nice for me.
I think you made a good choice. We all make mistakes but if we make a good faith effort to make it right, it means a lot.
I would never call out someone in a public review either who acknowledged their mistakes and did what they could to mitigate the damage. I imagine as soon as the house started filling with smoke that they were mortified and I’m sure these folks will read the house rules and instructions for how to use things properly the next time.
Also you won’t leave a fire pre-built, assuming guests will all read the part about you being present for the first fire lighting or that they would ever check to make sure the flue is open. They’ve seen plenty of movies where people were romantically enjoying a fire, but funnily enough, the movies never show anyone opening the flue first
Yes Yes Yes!
Eureka @jaquo! Thanks for providing this info. Google as I may, it took the above phrase to find what I was looking for.
No. Grill. happening. Not willing to mess with fire code. This is an urban 1904 row home. Small enclosed patio, over-hang, yada yada.
Open-flame cooking devices. No gas-fired grills, charcoal grills, or other similar devices used for
cooking, heating, or any other purpose, shall be used or kindled on any balcony or under any overhanging portion or within 10 feet (3 m) of any structure.
I managed 9 apartment buildings, most with entry from balconies along the front of the building, for 3+ years. Every summer, someone would buy a nice grille and if they were lucky I’d catch them unloading it, or at least before they fired it up. We would even put notices on every door that they weren’t allowed by their lease but still… not only that but 4 of the buildings were next to wooded areas where black bears waited for those food odors to send them right over (dumpsters were in a locked steel cage).
Geez, that’s pretty ballsy on a balcony. The area I have is a small yard on the ground level. But it’s surrounded by structures and also has an overhang that covers part of the area. And a wood deck. No way that it would pass the guidelines.
I am so afraid of guests starting fire in or near my 200 year old home that I actually put battery operated candles with a remote in my fireplace. We go through a lot of batteries, but its safer.
Muddy, I live in the town where Dark Waters is set. One of my nieces is unable to have children because of the contamination to the water of the elementary school she went to downstream of DuPont where they made the Teflon.
Long before I saw that movie, I never wanted any Teflon cookware. I read things about the dangers back decades ago.
I’m so sorry for your niece.
I have a friend who has gone through breast cancer and colon cancer. She grew up in a part of Ohio where she said 7 rivers flow through, all of them passing through commercial agricultural lands upstream, of course treated with toxic chemicals. Everyone in her family has had cancer or died of cancer, as have all of her former neighbors.
Whenever someone used to come knocking on my door, collecting for cancer research I would tell them, no, sorry- many of the things which definitely cause cancer are already known and nothing is done about it- people are still being exposed to those things all the time.