Possible toxic fire occurred above food-serving cafeteria.
Firefighters were called to Owen J. Roberts High School
Saturday afternoon after a fire broke out on the roof of the building. The cause of the fire, still under
investigation, originated from roof top solar panels. Officials say the fire caused $50,000 in
The fire comes one day after Reuters published a report outlining the dangers solar panels pose to firefighters. Concerns of electrocution, and a lack of roof top access present new challenges for emergency response personnel.
Risks from solar fires are not specific to emergency response personnel. Toxic materials are released from 'green' photovoltaic modules (solar panels) during a fire. Inhalation of these fumes pose a risk to human health. The concern is that the fire occurred over the cafeteria where students gather to consume food, and where food is stored and prepared. Is the air in the cafeteria safe? Does it pose a risk? These questions demand an answer.
For the safety of the students and faculty, many would expect the school to conduct independent air quality tests.
The circuit for which the solar panels provide power has been isolated and the school will be in session Monday September 8th.