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Smoking Solar Panel Prompts Village School Evacuation, Emergency Response

It is the second time the fire company was called to put out a fire on the solar panel covered roof.

Village School Elementary School children were evacuated from their school around 11:25 a.m. Monday after maintenance workers noticed smoke coming from an electrical pipe on the roof, school officials said. 

Holmdel Officer Thomas Foley arrived first on the scene and advised headquarters that a solar panel was on fire on the roof of the school, said Holmdel Township Police Lt. Michael Smith. 

Responding to the scene were Holmdel Fire Company #1, Holmdel First Aid and the township electrical inspector. Barrier Electric, the original installer of the solar panels, also was summoned. The fire was quickly extinguished, said police. 

School officials said there was no visible damage to the roof or the solar panels. Students went back inside around 12:30 p.m.

"The district is waiting for Johnson Controls to send an engineer to the site to investigate the situation and document a full report," said school officials in an email to parents. "At this point power has been disconnected from the solar panels to the building. Power will not be restored to the solar panels until Johnson Controls full investigation is complete and the Holmdel Electrical Inspector inspects the product."

It is the second time solar panels on the roof in the same area set off smoke alarms and prompted emergency response, said Holmdel Fire & Rescue #2 Chief John Boyle Sr. The previous incident was on May 23 at 12:30 p.m. 

A representative of Fire Company #1 was not immediately available for comment. 

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