Engineers work to secure rooftop solar panel after partial collapse
Published Friday, January 31, 2014 9:25AM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 31, 2014 7:30PM EST
Engineers have brought in a massive crane to help secure a rooftop solar panel that partially collapsed at a residential building on St. Dennis Drive near the Don Valley Parkway and Eglinton Ave. East, Friday afternoon.
Crews are working to secure the solar panels, which are dangling off the side of the high-rise building.
Police say the supports of the solar panels collapsed about a week ago, dropping the panel to the roof, but they were only alerted when one of the poles fell to the ground overnight.
Toronto resident Glen Ganon called the Toronto Fire Services, and they in turn called police.
"When I took a look out the window, I said 'what the blaze is going on here?'," Ganon told CTV Toronto on Friday.
A Toronto Fire Services spokesperson said the aluminum struts supporting the panels had collapsed.
While residents living in the building have not been evacuated, the area surrounding the high-rise apartment has been cordoned off.
Sgt. David Dube said about 12 feet (3.66 metres) of the solar panel is now hanging over the edge. He said they are concerned that wind could exacerbate the partial collapse and pose a risk to pedestrians.
"Our concern is obviously the wind and what the elements may bring later on," Dube told CTV Toronto.
Leonard Allen, an expert from Solara Sustainable Energy Systems, told CTV Toronto that he wasn’t surprised by the structural collapse.
“When I first saw this, it raised my eyebrows big time, I thought there was an accident waiting to happen,” he said.
According to the city planning department, the permit to install the panel was issued back in July and the final inspection was approved by the city’s building inspector.
CTV Toronto has learned that the panels were installed by a company called Enviroen.
The company refused to comment on the collapse but said that their engineers were at the scene.
Olivier Trescases, assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Engineering Department, told CTV Toronto that solar panels are usually safe, as long as they are installed properly.
“Definitely, bad things can happen if you don’t leave enough room, if you don’t balance them properly or leave a space for the wind to flow around the panels,” he said.
Officials say crews will work through the night to secure the panels, at which point engineers will begin dismantling the structure.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Zuraidah Alman.