Gatton Star - - FRONT PAGE - Do­minic El­some do­minic.el­[email protected]­ton­star.com.au

TR­ISH Davis was forced to watch on help­lessly as her home went up in flames — com­pletely un­aware the blaze could eas­ily have been pre­vented.

The Heli­don metal fab­ri­ca­tor suf­fered se­ri­ous burns to her arm re­quir­ing skin grafts in the Jan­uary 10 blaze. It is also likely her house will need to be par­tially de­mol­ished and re­built.

The blaze tore through Mrs Davis’ dream home, built in 2012, and started due to her so­lar panel sys­tem’s inverter.

She later dis­cov­ered, had her so­lar sys­tem been in­stalled un­der new reg­u­la­tions the fire would likely have not been so dev­as­tat­ing.

When the inverter, along with the so­lar pan­els was in­stalled in May 2013, Mrs Davis said the reg­u­la­tions pre­ferred the inverter be in­stalled in­side the house and the inverter’s iso­la­tion switch, which cuts the con­nec­tion be­tween the inverter and the pan­els, was in­stalled on her roof.

This meant when the fire broke out, even with Mrs Davis’ ef­fort to ex­tin­guish the blaze us­ing a fire blan­ket and ex­tin­guish­ers, there was lit­tle to stop the inverter reignit­ing.

“Once the inverter be­came com­pro­mised and it's on fire, un­til you turn that iso­la­tion switch off – even if I'd put the fire out – it would have kept spark­ing fires,” Mrs Davis said.

Shock­ingly, af­ter the fire, she found reg­u­la­tions had been changed for this very rea­son.

In­vert­ers must now be in­stalled on an out­side wall and the iso­la­tion switch placed at ground level.

But the changes did lit­tle good for Mrs Davis, who didn’t know of the changes.

She said had she known, she would have made changes. She is now call­ing for other so­lar panel own­ers in her sit­u­a­tion to be made aware of the changes be­fore her tragedy re­peats it­self.

“There's go­ing to be a death be­cause of it, be­cause they don't know that this is a po­ten­tial prob­lem,” she said.


IN­FERNO: Tr­ish Davis stands where her so­lar inverter once was.

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