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Fire destroys Penngrove tiny home

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A solar energy system powering a two-story tiny home in Penngrove may have caused it to burn down on Monday, displacing two people.

The charge controller that regulated the power generated by rooftop solar panels was believed to have started the blaze on Lichau Road south of Crane Creek Regional Park, said Rancho Adobe Fire Capt. Eric Gromala.

No one was home when the fire began around noon, he said.

An alarm alerted the homeowners of high levels of carbon monoxide in their residence. The couple notified family members who live in another dwelling on the property, Gromala said, and once they saw the fire, they called 911.

Flames were billowing out of the doors and windows of the home when two engines arrived, Gromala said.

“It smoldered for quite a while before we got there,” he said. “There was a lot of heat in there.”

The recently purchased tiny home was listed for approximately $90,000. In all, the damage estimate was roughly $120,000, Gromala said.

Rancho Adobe officials are still investigating whether the fire was caused by a haphazard installation or the quality of the solar system equipment.

“It’s definitely new technology, and it’s not proven as much as some of the older stuff,” Gromala said. “You have to keep that in mind and pay close attention. At the same time, they had (smart) alarms, no one was hurt and that kept everyone safe as well.”

You can reach Staff Writer Yousef Baig at 707-521-5390 or yousef.baig@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @YousefBaig.

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