STANFORD, Ill. (WMBD) — More information has been released in relation to the fire on the Olympia middle/high school campus on Thursday, April 13.
According to the Mt. Hope-Funks Grove Fire Department Chief Eric Fulk, students were evacuated after the school’s solar panels caught fire. Crews were able to get the fire under control in 23 minutes.
Allin Township Fire Department – Stanford, IL, Dale Township Fire Department, Danvers Fire and Rescue, Bloomington Township Fire Protection District, City of Bloomington – Fire, Minier Fire Department, Minier Rescue Squad, Atlanta, IL Volunteer Fire Department and Armington Fire & Rescue Department all responded to this incident.
Fulk stated that one of the other arrays of solar panel’s inverter was malfunctioning and crews were able to keep it under control using fire extinguishers until a certified solar electrician arrived at the scene to disconnect it from the solar panels.
Tarps were placed on the gym floor after it was learned water was coming into rooms directly below the fire. It was later learned that the fire had melted and burned the roof membrane, which is how water was able to get into the building.
Ventilation fans were also set up to deal with smoke that made its way into the building.
The Illinois State Fire Marshal has determined that the fire appeared to start at the solar panels, but the overall cause of the fire remains under investigation. No total damage cost has been released at this time.