Nebraska Bans Grills On Apartment Balconies

Apartment dwellers in Nebraska won't be able to fire up their balcony grills for the Fourth of July this year.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- Apartment dwellers in Nebraska won't be able to fire up their balcony grills for the Fourth of July this year.

Gas-fired, hibachi and similar grills operated on balconies or under any overhang are banned under a statewide fire code that takes effect Thursday. Electric grills are not included in the ban.

``I haven't heard from any residents yet,'' said Brent Gunderson, a manager at Thomasville Apartments in Omaha. ``I'm sure the fallout will come.''

Fire officials in Omaha were leaving flyers and talking to apartment managers about the new code, which extends a ban already in place for charcoal grills, said Assistant City Fire Marshal Pio Porta.

The new regulations comply with fire codes adopted by federal officials. Enforcement largely will be up to local authorities.

Charcoal grills have not been allowed on balconies since 2000 and gas grills with tanks holding more than a pound of propane have been banned since 1992. However, many people are not aware of those restrictions, Porta said.

Fire officials in Omaha will rely on voluntary compliance with the new codes and respond to any complaints they receive, Porta said.

Donna Robinson, manager at Crest View Apartments in Sidney, said her tenants have balconies and many have grills.

``I imagine they wouldn't like it any,'' Robinson said of the new regulations.

Adam Bures, property supervisor for Nebraska on apartments owned by Investors Management and Marketing of Minot, N.D., said his company already had banned charcoal grills and discouraged propane grills.

``It's been something that's been coming in a lot of areas,'' Bures said of a more extensive ban on balcony grills.

Gunderson, at Thomasville Apartments, said his company might well turn to a community grilling area.

``People grill out,'' Gunderson said. ``It's going to be an adjustment.''

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