Solar Panels Smolder at Kohl's on Wednesday
Fire responders were dispatched twice in one day for a suspected electrical fire on the roof of Kohl's.
The parking lot at Kohl's and Marshalls swarmed with confused and concerned citizens, shoppers and employees on Wednesday around 11:20 a.m., when a fire alarm was pulled at Marshalls. It was reported that the Kohl's building was smoking and there were preliminary reports of an electrical fire on the roof.
"We had what appears to be an electrical fire on the roof," said Linfield Fire Chief Don Maleta. "We are trying to figure out what caused it right now. The fire was controlled pretty quick. It didn't extend anywhere."
Maleta said the Kohl's roof is covered with solar panels and electrical work was being done on them recently.
Kohl's was evacuated fully and everyone was safe, as the fire did not extend passed Kohl's. After the fire was cleaned up and investigated, crews left within the hour. However, crews were dispatched again at about 4 p.m. on Wednesday, as the panels were reported to be "smoldering" again.
"The whole incident was related to the solar energy system on top of the building," said Maleta. "I don't know the details of exactly what went wrong, but it appears to have been a short. When they were working on the system again, they found some areas that were smoldering underneath the roof material. We went back out."
People were only out of the store for a couple of minutes the second time around.
"We had to remove a few pieces of the roof so they could see exactly what was going on and then we sent people back in the store," Maleta said.
Maleta reported only minimal damage.
"No real big fire," he concluded. "It was more of just long-term smoldering. A bunch of people saw it and got out."