• Forklift unloading solar panels in Polk County catches fire, does $2 million in damage

    By: Chip Skambis


    BARTOW, Fla. - A forklift in use to unload and install solar panels in Polk County caught fire Sunday morning, causing an estimated $2 million in damages, firefighters said. 

    The diesel forklift caught fire around 7 a.m. off of Bonnie Mine Road just outside of Bartow. 
    The fire spread quickly to the solar panels, firefighters said. 

    Because solar panels contain chemicals that emit carcinogens when burned, firefighters were fully packed out, using copious amounts of water to put it out. 

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    Extinguishing the fire took more than four hours, firefighters said. 

    The firefighters then underwent a full decontamination to ensure they were not exposed to carcinogens. 

    Firefighters have not yet determined the cause of the fire. 

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