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Amazon warehouse fire in Maryland ignited by solar panels: investigators

FOX News logo FOX News 6/10/2021 Peter Aitken

Investigators have determined that a two-alarm fire at an Amazon warehouse in Maryland was ignited by solar panels on the roof. 

The fire broke out Wednesday in the Perryville warehouse and quickly spread across the roof. Firefighters worked to extinguish fires on "multiple solar panels, HVAC units & roofing materials." 

The estimated losses totaled around $500,000 and took around an hour and a half to fight due to the fire breaking out in an "unprecedented" area of the building.

No injuries were reported from the incident, but one employee was evaluated at the scene, The Baltimore Sun reported

A subsequent investigation by Maryland's Office of the State Fire Marshal - an agency of the state police -- determined that the preliminary cause was "accidental" and involved "an unspecified event involving the solar panel system." 

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) advises that solar panels can cause fires when improperly installed, usually due to "electrical arcing … faulting wiring or insufficient insulation." 

Big businesses and solar panel fires are no strangers to each other: Walmart started suing Tesla over solar panel installations after seven fires broke out on rooftops of their stores across the country in 2019.

The fires resulted from "years of gross negligence and failure to live up to industry standards" and incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.  

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The Perryville investigation may revise its determination as new information comes to light. 

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