Backyard grill likely caused White Settlement house fire, police say

A fire that may have started with an outdoor grill destroyed a home in the Fort Worth suburb of White Settlement Tuesday afternoon.

According to the White Settlement Police Department, neighbors in the 200 block of Saddle Road reported hearing an explosion. 

The explosion occurred just after the homeowner put meat on an outdoor electric grill in the backyard.

It happened just as two White Settlement police officers were on the very street, Saddle Rd., looking for a felony warrant suspect.

"The officers heard a loud explosion sound, so they got on the radio before we even had 911 calls. They looked up and there was this huge plume of black smoke," White Settlement Police Chief Chris Cook said.

Chief Cook said the homeowner went inside the house and left the grill unattended for a brief time. While he was away, the loud explosion could be heard for blocks. 

"When he goes to the back door, heavy smoke on the grill and the grill is completely, no longer there, the grill completely exploded and it had spread the fire," Cook said. "He had solar panels above his awning, in the back porch area. The fire quickly spread."

Firefighters were on the scene within moments.

Video captured by a police department drone shows the blast aftermath.

READ MORE: Fort Worth fire engine flips over in rollover crash, injuring four firefighters

The homeowner, a husband and father, was home alone at the time. Police said his two children were at school and his wife was also away from home.

Unfortunately, the family’s two pet dogs were overcome by smoke and did not survive, though firefighters tried giving them oxygen.

"The community is really trying to rally behind them," Cook said.

Firefighters managed to salvage about half of the home’s structure.

Chief Cook said multiple explosions reported involved batteries associated with solar panels on the home igniting.

Fire investigators continue looking into the cause, but are all but certain the outdoor cooker was the culprit for the initial explosion.

"Something happened. Either something to do with the grill or something to do with the electrical grid," Cook explained. "It wasn’t gas-related or anything like that, so we just don’t know. We know the origin of the fire, it was certainly the grill."