On September 3, NBC Philadelphia published an online news report regarding an 11-alarm fire at a Dietz & Watson storage plant in Delanco, NJ. It took more than 24 hours for the blaze to be brought under control.
According to the report, “More than 200 firefighters from Burlington, Mercer, Gloucester, Camden and Atlantic Counties were brought to the distribution center which is about 300,000 square feet -- roughly the size of five football fields.” At times, many were pulled back from the fire for fear of electrocution caused by the building’s fully-charged solar panels.
Watch the video on NBCPhiladelphia.com
The article cited information from the report “Fire Fighter Safety and Emergency Response for Solar Power Systems,” a publication of the Fire Protection Research Foundation, an affiliate of NFPA. The report noted that buildings with solar power systems “can present a variety of significant hazards" for firefighters including poor air quality and electrocution.
Also see: UL report: "Firefighter Safety and Photovoltaic Systems"
A follow-up piece by NBC Philadelphia, "Solar Panels Growing Hazard for Firefighters" addressed additional safety issues raised from the Dietz & Watson fire and highlighted Ken Willette from NFPA. Within the article, Willette noted that “electrocution is one of the hazards firefighters are increasingly facing fighting blazes at structures where solar panels are deployed.”