From: Eleanor Cummins and Nicole Wetsman via Wired
Published May 30, 2017 10:40 AM

Rooftop Solar Panels Are Great for the Planet—But Terrible for Firefighters

When first responders arrived to the burning home on Eugene Street in Manchester, New Hampshire just after 2 am on January 27, half the home was already up in flames. It was a big fire, but relatively routine: Working in the dark, the firefighters made sure the two residents got out unharmed, and got to work.

Once they reached the roof, though, they ran into trouble. This home was covered in rigid, electrified solar panels—making it difficult for the firefighters to cut holes in the roof to let smoke and heat escape. Finally, they found enough open space around the panels to jockey an adequate hole. “Our guys had to do what they had to do,” says Paul King, Manchester’s deputy fire marshal. The cat inside didn’t make it.

In the last two decades, solar power has exploded. In 2009, only 30,000 American homes had solar panels; by 2013, that number had jumped to 400,000. With that growth, firefighters have had to contend with new threats to their safety—and that of the buildings and people they’re charged with protecting.

Read more at Wired

Photo credit: Gray Watson via Wikimedia Commons

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