Roof fire caused by lan­tern

Warn­ing from fire­fight­ers

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Laura Mowat laura.mowat@trin­i­tymir­

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.”

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