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Man warns others after solar panels nearly burn down his house

MELISSA, Texas (KTVT) — A Texas dad is warning others about solar panels, saying there’s a rare chance they could catch fire, like his.

Austin Nathaniel decided to have solar panels installed in his home a year after his neighbor. He went with the same company his neighbor had used because the other man had a lot of experience.

At first, Nathaniel says his experience was also great. But about four months later, he got a call from a neighbor telling him to go home right away because some of his solar panels were on fire.

“They contacted another guy, who ran over and cut the power and jumped on the roof with a hose and sprayed it. My child sleeps right under it which is terrifying,” Nathaniel said.

When firefighters arrived, they noted that two of the signs had caught fire and said, “If my neighbor hadn’t been there when he did, my house would have burned down,” according to Nathaniel.

“They seemed to think it was pretty obvious,” he said.

About four months after the solar panels were installed, Austin Nathaniel says two of them caught fire. The firefighters told him that his house would have burned down had it not been for neighbors who intervened.(Source: Austin Nathaniel, KTVT via CNN)

Sherrie Wilson, Dallas’ first female firefighter who retired after decades of service, says cases like this are incredibly rare. They occur in about 1 in 10,000 cases, according to the National Fire Protection Association and other sources.

Wilson has some tips for trying to prevent that from happening.

“I think going to a reputable supplier will be your first and most important thing. But you know, you can get surges, surges, faulty products,” she said.

As for Nathaniel, he is still trying to work with the company that installed the panels and is waiting for the situation to be resolved.

“Even if they fix this, it’s still going to be difficult to get those signs back on,” he said.

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