Solar panels create challenge in extinguishing Merrick fire

The fire ignited at the home on Beach Drive.

The fire ignited at the home on Beach Drive. (6/25/16)

MERRICK - More than 75 firefighters faced an added challenge while responding to a fire in Merrick Saturday.

Fire officials say the fire started in a trash can next to the home on Beach Drive and then traveled up the side of the home and onto the roof.

The homeowners were woken up by a neighbor knocking on their door to tell them flames were shooting up the side of their house.

Firefighters say they faced a major challenge upon arriving at the home, as the heavy solar panels on the roof started to break apart due to the intense heat.

"The solar panels were starting to come off on the roof and some pieces were coming down on us," says Ron Luparello, of the Merrick Fire Department. "And as we opened the roof, the panels, which are glass, were shattered and the glass was coming down on the firefighters that were upstairs."

Firefighters say it took them about 20 minutes to extinguish the flames. The fire heavily damaged the second floor of the home, and the first floor sustained smoke and water damage.

Officials say the fire is not suspicious. No one was injured.

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