Advice for how to recover or repair a fire-damaged outdoor grill area : HomeImprovement

Hi all!

I’m facing a pretty unfortunate situation. I moved into my new home about 7 months ago, which included an awesome outdoor patio area, complete with an outdoor bar and built-in grill. The built-in grill is powered by propane, which is stored in an adjacent cabinet and fed by your standard rubber hose. A couple hours after grilling one evening, I saw the grill was still smoking and that the inside of the cabinet had caught fire! (it’s worth noting, a few months earlier I had once smelled what I thought was a propane leak near the cabinet, but couldn’t find a culprit in the line– swapping the tank out seemed to resolve it so I chalked it up to that — big lesson learned as I’m pretty sure there was a leak). The fire damage indicated that the hose had a leak that somehow caught fire (perhaps it was touching the grill), melted, and thus a propane-fueled fire was able to go.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and I caught it before things spread to the garage or house. All-in-all the damage was very much contained and most of the outdoor bar was left unscathed. Here are the pictures of the damage with some descriptions:

So now to figure out my next steps. The way I see it I have a couple of options:

  1. Remove the entire part of the counter where the grill once lived. I wouldn’t be too difficult to detach it from the bar top and add stone to the unfinished part to clean it up. Then I would just put a standalone rolling propane grill in that area. This option is the easiest for me to do and removes any questions/concerns about having a built-in grill if there are further safety concerns. The downside is that this option would look worse, as all of the exterior stone around the grill is unscathed.

  2. Remove and replace the burnt boards with new lumber (already started down the removal part of this) and keep the design as is. I would use the same, or similar, grill and somehow ensure there is appropriate fireproofing and separation between the propane hose and grill. This option would keep the nice stone facade around the grill and keep the overall design. The downside is that it’s more labor intensive to cleaning replace those boards and I still have to determine if I’d face issues with structural soundness. Also I’m unsure if a setup like this is somehow abnormal and would pose future safety concerns. Looking online this doesn’t seem to be that uncommon of a setup, but I’m not sure.

  3. Hire someone to do option 2. I’m pretty handy and have a good amount of experience building things so I’m confident I could execute #2, but perhaps there are gotchas when it comes to a propane hookup like this that’s better left to a pro.

Any thoughts on how you’d approach this? Appreciate any feedback!

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