That "pull handle" with the hole in it is a center "mini shaker grate" be careful I broke the end of mine off, by putting too much leverage on it when it got stuck. What happens is that small coals get wedged in there and jams it up. You can move it in and out useing the one tool, or flip the back up , by putting downward pressure on the hole. I have gotten mine to restart 3 mornings this week since Sunday. Would burn slowly most of the day, but be out when I got home. Tell him to leave the old half burn / new coal in the 'pit' up to the level of the vertical slats after clean out the Ash, this is cold of course. And then start a new fire right on top to get it going again! I have been using strip oak flooring, use a hand full, ontop of 1 sheet newspaper and maple twigs with a 5 -10 squart of Kero, are burning 15 minute , throw on 2 shovel fulls of coal on top, another 15mins with good blue flames, load up the hopper, close the door and have a beer!
I start mine at 8 and knoc it down in two's , run at 4 and put to bed on about 2.5 - 3 at night!