The country’s worst barbeque chefs revealed


With high fire danger ratings set to continue across many parts of the country, Australians are urged to be cautious when firing up the barbeque this long weekend.


The country’s worst barbeque chefs revealed

Insurance claims data from Suncorp reveals that in 2019, more than 120 households experienced a barbeque fire or explosion, resulting in considerable damage and, in several instances, intervention from fire emergency services.

Suncorp Insurance Head of Consumer Property Claims Paige Vincent said that with fire authorities and volunteers still working to control the bushfires in several states, it’s particularly important to play it safe around the barbeque this long weekend.

“For many Australians, a quintessential way to enjoy the long weekend is with a barbeque, however our experience tells us that fires caused by a barbeque can happen to even the most experienced backyard chefs.”

I started the barbeque to cook dinner and left it to heat up. Shortly afterwards, my wife ran inside to tell me there were flames coming from the barbeque and our fence had been set on fire.

Suncorp customer

Alarmingly, New South Wales households experienced the highest number (40) of barbeque fire-related incidents during 2019, followed by Victoria where 27 incidents occurred.

Queenslanders experienced half the amount of barbeque fires compared to those in New South Wales, while those up in Northern Territory were the safest with Suncorp receiving no claims in 2019. 

A Suncorp customer said, “my husband was cooking a roast on our Weber barbeque and the flames went out of control. The barbeque was completely on fire, all the knobs melted and it was completely charred.”

Another person recalled, “I started the barbeque to cook dinner and left it to heat up. Shortly afterwards, my wife ran inside to tell me there were flames coming from the barbeque and our fence had been set on fire.”

Barbeque fires are typically caused by unsafe gas cylinders, greasy grills or food being left unattended while cooking.

“If you do plan to fire up the barbeque this Australia Day, make sure you check the gas bottle for any leaks before you begin and only turn the gas on when you are ready to start cooking,” Ms Vincent said.

“Whether you are grilling at home, at a park or elsewhere, it’s important to never leave your barbeque unattended while it’s turned on.”

“After cooking, always make sure the barbeque is cleaned thoroughly to avoid fat, oil or leftover residue from catching on fire next time the barbeque is turned on.”

According to 2019 Suncorp claims data, January is the most frequent month for barbeque fires, while the lowest number of incidents were reported in July. 

#Australia Day barbeque top tips

Before lighting your grill, check with your local council website to ensure you comply with any fire restrictions that may be in place, such as total fire bans.

Carry out a soapy water test on the LP gas cylinder connection. If it bubbles when you turn the nozzle on, it’s leaking and should be replaced as soon as possible.

If your gas cylinder has not been tested for more than 10 years, or if the cylinder has been damaged, exchange it at a reputable supplier to avoid any problems.

Check the hose is not damaged. Look for any splits, perishing or cracking.

Check the connection from the hose to the LPG cylinder to make sure it is tight – get into the habit of doing this regularly.

Avoid leaving the gas on for too long before igniting and do not leave your cooking unattended.

Buy a fire blanket and fire extinguisher and have them easily accessible. Do not put water on a fat fire. Water can rapidly spread the fire and lead to serious injuries and property damage.

If there is an emergency call Triple Zero (000) as soon as possible.

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