A one-alarm fire caused an Andover home a projected $50,000 in damages on Wednesday, Aug. 16. 

Firefighters and police responded to a fire on the roof of 89 Cross St. that was reported at 10:51 a.m. It appeared that the fire was coming from beneath solar panels on the roof of the building. 

No one was present in the building when the fire started and no injuries occurred as a result.

By 12:40 p.m. police officers and firefighters had left the scene.

"The most significant damage was to the solar panel array on the roof," said Andover Fire Chief Michael Mansfield. "There was also some damage to the roof structure itself."

The fire department was able to contain the fire to the roof. The house is still habitable, despite damages to the roof and smoke damage to the interior. Currently a company is working to remove the odor of smoke from the home. 

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, although the role the solar panels may have played in the fire is being closely examined. 

"The problem with solar panels is that they store energy and they're constantly creating energy," said Mansfield. "They never turn off, even if you disconnect them. It becomes an additional hazard to the firefighters attempting to put the fire out. If the fire had extended into the occupancy we would have had a difficult time fighting the fire because we would not have been able to open up the roof and perform vertical ventilation because of the solar panels on the roof.

"As good as they can be as far as the environment and being green, they do create additional hazards for firefighters," added Mansfield. 

Follow Kelsey Bode on Twitter @Kelsey_Bode


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