Firefighters snuff out solar panel fire on industrial building

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By Elio Gugliotti, Editor

Firefighters and officials work on the roof of Ram Specialty Fabrications at 93 Rado Drive in Naugatuck Monday afternoon after firefighters put out a fire on solar panels on the roof. -ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — Firefighters quickly put out a solar panel fire on the roof of an industrial building on Rado Drive before the flames spread to the building itself Monday afternoon.

Assistant Fire Chief Walter Seaman said at about 1:15 p.m. firefighters responded to a fire that appeared to be coming from the roof of Ram Specialty Fabrications at 93 Rado Drive. When firefighters arrived on the scene, he said, there were flames and smoke coming from the roof.

Seaman said firefighters discovered that the fire was coming from solar panels on the roof. He said firefighters quickly put out the fire using an extinguisher before it spread to the building.

“We were able to stop it before it ever reached the building. The guys did a great job getting up there — really did a great job,” he said. “We were here quickly — within minutes — and that really makes all the difference in the world.”

Seaman said employees safely evacuated the building and were able to retrieve their belongings after the fire was under control. No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Seaman said.

There are solar panels on about half of the building’s roof. Two or three panels were damaged, officials said.

As of 2:30 p.m. firefighters remained on scene and were waiting for a representative from the company that owns the solar panels to guide them as to how to proceed, since the panels were still generating energy.

Seaman said an Eversource Energy crew responded to the scene and verified its equipment was intact.

Aside from the fire, firefighters also battled temperatures in the 90s as they worked. Seaman said firefighters stayed hydrated and rotated crews as precautions in the heat.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the fire was Tuesday afternoon.