(Reuters) Putrid air hung over a luncheon meats warehouse long after a blaze consumed the building where frustrated firefighters met their enemy: rooftop solar panels.

Loved by the green movement, solar panels pose a growing threat to firefighters, who may suffer electrical shocks from panels that typically cannot be turned off, said John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for Underwriters Laboratories.

Even when systems are equipped with shutoffs, any light can keep panels and their wires energized, Drengenberg said.

Gaining access to roofs gives firefighters advantages such as venting gases, and the panels get in the way, said Ken Willette, who manages the public fire protection division at the National Fire Protection Association.

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