PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – Two people were injured Thursday afternoon following a large house fire on Wilbraham Street in Palmer.

According to the Palmer Fire Department and the Department of Fire Services, the cause of the fire was due to a propane grill on the deck and is considered accidental. A total of six people are without a home and are being assisted by the Red Cross.

According to the Palmer Fire Department, crews were called to 321 Wilbraham St. (RT. 20) around 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon for a house fire. Firefighters found heavy fire in the basement, first floor, and worked its way into the second floor.

At one point, firefighters were forced to leave the building due to the intensity of the flames and the deteriorating conditions of the home.

Additional crews were called in from Wilbraham, Monson, Three Rivers, Belchertown, Bondsville, Ludlow, Ware, Warren and Brimfield to assist with manpower and water supply due to the home being outside of the town’s hydrant district. Tanker firetrucks could be seen entering and leaving the area to provide water for their fire-battling efforts.

“If you use a grill, please be sure to use it safely. Grills should be placed at least 10 feet away from the side of the house, and never beneath any roof, overhang, or tree branches. Check that your connections are tight before turning on the gas, and clean the grease trap every time you grill,” said Palmer Fire Chief William Bernat.

“Massachusetts fire departments have reported more than 400 grill fires in the past five years, and about 75% of them took place between May and September,” said State Fire Marshal Jon Davine. “We’re in the heart of grilling season, and I want to urge everyone to take the simple steps necessary to avoid fires, injuries, and worse. Please keep the area around the grill clear of dry leaves, food packaging, and any other combustible items. A fire that starts with built-up grease or a gas leak can easily spread to the surrounding area, including your home.”

The Massachusetts Comprehensive Fire Safety Code prohibits grills and cooking equipment on porches, balconies, and decks without an exterior stairway to the ground. They should not be within 10 feet of your home and not be placed under a roof or overhang.

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