Maui News

Photovoltaic Panel Sparks Brush Fire Near Maui Tech Park

July 15, 2015, 4:16 AM HST
* Updated July 15, 4:17 AM
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MFD logo. Photo by Wendy Osher.

MFD logo. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

A brush fire that burned about a half-acre of grass along Līpoa Drive near the Maui High Tech Park in Kīhei was accidentally sparked by a photovoltaic panel, according to Maui fire officials.

According to department reports, workers were dismantling old photovoltaic panels when the incident occurred at 1:03 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, 2015.  Maui Fire Services Officer Edward Taomoto said when workers lifted from the ground, a special magnifying lens used in the panels, it immediately set the grass on fire.

“A slight breeze quickly fanned the flames and it got away from workers. Luckily, a construction crew from Goodfellow Brothers was nearby to assist,” said FSO Taomoto.  “They happened to be nearby when the fire started and quickly jumped into action,” he said.

The crew from Goodfellow Bros. used a front loader to cut a firebreak around the blaze and a water truck to keep the fire from spreading until Maui firefighters from Kīhei arrived on scene at 1:10 p.m.

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The fire was contained within 5 minutes and called extinguished at 2:05 p.m.

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There were no injuries reported and no structures damaged in the incident. Fire crews from Kīhei and Wailea responded to the incident.

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