CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina woman wants you to take a closer look at the windows on your home – as well as your neighbors. She's trying to prevent dangerous fires like the ones that kept happening at her home.
The problem is with environmentally friendly windows and the way they can interact with the house next door. Surveillance video showed people trying to put out the fire that was burning around Nancy Monda’s house.
“I woke up from a deep nap to see strange people in my yard, and then I look again to see flames shooting up," she said.
She’s convinced those strangers saved her; the fire came close to a propane tank right next to her house.
“Once it hit ground started spreading across pine needles, this whole area here was on fire," Monda said.
Investigators first believed the cause of the fire was arson.
“I was trying to think who would want to set my house on fire. It was only after fire kept reigniting every other day for the next week -- I believe it was the second time they returned one of the firefighters got burned and was like, 'Ouch.'”
He looked up and realized Monda’s neighbor's window was sending out the hot beam of light.
“That's how we determined the neighbor's window as being the culprit.”
We did some digging and found a similar story in Waxhaw where a homeowner got video of sunlight so bright, brush started smoking. Turns out this has been happening for years across the country.
We’ve been reporting on a similar phenomenon for years where the windows have actually warped the siding of homes.
“My frustration is building code officials and glass and construction industries have been aware of this for a long time but nobody has done anything about it. Frankly, they’ve kept it hidden," said Monda.
We checked with the North Carolina insurance commissioner and fire marshal and learned the state building code changed because of the potential dangers with these windows back in 2015. The state building council still regularly meets to discuss this issue.
Manufacturers have also made changes, so newer homes shouldn’t be at risk. However, state officials admit there are so many variables that can cause these fires, the only real way to know there is a problem is when one starts.
“When you’re talking about fires starting in heavily populated unsuspecting family neighborhoods, something needs to be done right away.”
If you think you may have one of these windows, the best suggestion is to get a special coating that goes over the window in question. Remember, it’s your neighbor's window causing the problem, so you have to get them to agree to the fix.