Roof fire caused by lantern
Warning from firefighters
FIREFIGHTERS are urging people to take care when flying lanterns after one caused a fire.
A sky lantern fell on to a section of a single storey roof at a two-storey house in Beech Tree Road, Holmer Green on Thursday, January 1, at 1am. The fire was put out by the occupant and firefighters attended from High Wycombe.
Flying lanterns – also known as sky lanterns and Chinese lanterns – are usually made of paper, wire and bamboo and contain a lit candle. They are often used in celebrations. Head of Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service’s community safety team, Neil Boustred, said: “You can’t control the direction they take or where they will land.
“There is no guarantee that the fuel source will be fully extinguished and cooled when the lantern lands, and that’s a real fire hazard.”
He said locations lanterns
unsuitable for flying included areas near telephone and power lines, areas near standing crops, anywhere near buildings with thatched roofs, areas of dense woodland and areas of heath or bracken.
The flying lanterns can rise to more than 1,000 feet, fly for up to 20 minutes and float for miles before landing.
Three years ago, a stray New Year’s Eve flying lantern set fire to a car in Chalfont St Giles after landing next to it and then being blown underneath it.
As well as being a potential fire hazard, the lanterns often contain wire which can kill or injure animals, damage farm machinery or end up in animal feed.
Bucks Fire and Rescue Service communications manager Fraser Pearson said: “Luckily this time, the occupant was awake. We recommend that people don’t use them.
“They can cause considerable damage and they are a considerable risk to life.
“There is no guarantee that the candle will blow out. They are not well made and the lantern can catch fire.”