5 On Your Side

Davie County woman shares concerns after fires sparked by Low E windows

Posted March 24
Updated March 27

— A Davie County woman was able to share her concerns Friday with an investigator from the Consumer Product Safety Commission regarding her neighbor's energy-efficient windows.

Nancy Monda told WRAL's 5 On Your Side that she fears for her safety every day after her neighbors’ Low E windows started several fires on her property.

The agency's involvement is a change from last month when spokeswoman Patty Davis told WRAL the fires were a building code issue, not an issue for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Davis said the agency's visit to Monda's home was part of a "fact finding mission."

"To say I was pleasantly surprised is a gross understatement," said Monda. "I am thrilled someone is out here and taking this issue very serious issue - uh, seriously."

The investigator took photos and measurements, and interviewed Monda at length about the intense sunbeam reflected from the neighbor's window.

Monda said after her experience, fires that reignited at Patrick Henzelman's home in Waxhaw, and hearing from fire chiefs across the state and country about other Low E window fires, she is on a mission.

"I just truly want to generate public awareness so that nobody else has to go through what I went through," she said. "More importantly, lives aren't lost to this."

Monda continues to fear for her own safety. Mirrors she initially put out to reflect the intense beams cracked and melted, so she replaced them with sheets of reflective stainless steel.

She also replaced pine straw with river rock, and added tarps to keep her bushes from burning.

"My big concern now is with the seasonally moving sun. These death rays are moving targets," Monda said. "We've learned that nearly all of these windows are sending down pretty intense beams so I worry about them moving across my house. The firefighters told me even the wooden window frames are at risk of catching fire."

Monda has already spent thousands of dollars trying to protect her home.

Asked what she’d say to people who questioned her extreme measures, Monda said, “Wake up to a fire in your yard. Look at my fire, look at how close it came to engulfing my yard as well as many of these adjacent homes. So, wake up to that, and I think you'll be singing a different tune very quickly.

"It's very easy to say, 'No big deal' when it is someone else's yard,” she said.

Despite Monda’s concerns, the homeowner with the window in question has not made any changes. When 5 On Your Side asked him two months ago, he said he would. He has not returned calls.

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