Oops: Solar Panels Put Firefighters in Danger

by Greg Pollowitz

Reuters:

Putrid air hung over a luncheon meats warehouse long after a blaze consumed the building where frustrated firefighters met their enemy: rooftop solar panels.

Loved by the green movement, solar panels pose a growing threat to firefighters, who may suffer electrical shocks from panels that typically cannot be turned off, said John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories.

Even when systems are equipped with shutoffs, any light can keep panels and their wires energized, Drengenberg said.

Gaining access to roofs gives firefighters advantages such as venting gases, and the panels get in the way, said Ken Willette, who manages the public fire protection division at the National Fire Protection Association.

In Delanco, New Jersey, volunteer fire crews rushed to the burning meat warehouse on Sunday and discovered the roof was covered in solar panels, forcing firefighters to change tactics. It took 29 hours to put out the flames at the Dietz & Watson warehouse, which was left gutted and smoldering in ruins.

“Do I think we’d have had a different outcome if we could get on the roof? Sure,” Delanco Deputy Fire Chief Robert Hubler said.

I wonder how much excess carbon was emitted by the fire that the firemen couldn’t put out because of the carbon-emission-reducing solar panels? The rest here.