BELLEVUE (KDKA) – Backyard grilling is the American way, but barbecuers in Bellevue believed that their ribs, dogs and burgers were being threatened by a proposed borough burning ordinance.

They thought they’d have to notify the fire department each time they lit up.

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Borough Manager Doug Sample says that’s not the case.

“That couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said. “Backyard grills, charcoal, gas grills – anything of that nature is exempt from this ordinance.”

Would-be chefs unleashed a barrage of displeasure.

“A lot of council members have been getting calls at home,” he said. “We have been flooded with calls here.”

The proposed law is aimed at tightening up the current local code to bring it in line with Allegheny County’s recreational burning law.

Under the proposal, the increasingly popular fire pits and chimineas are the primary concern.

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Fire pits could be no wider than 3-feet in diameter and at least 15-feet from a structure. Owners would have to notify the fire department an hour before starting a recreational fire.

The types of materials burned would be regulated too.

“It has to all be clean – no plastics, no paper, no cardboard,” Sample said.

The fire marshal could restrict the size of recreational fires or order them to be put out.

But while all grills should be at least five-feet away from the house, they are exempt.

“You do not need to notify the fire department if you’re barbecuing your hamburgers and hotdogs.”

Bellevue Borough council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, May 22, to consider this ordinance.

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