Fire service for Brighton and Hove issues warning about Chinese lanterns

Posted On 02 Jul 2013 at 6:13 pm

The fire service for Brighton and Hove has issued a warning about Chinese lanterns, also known as sky lanterns.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service urged people including event organisers to be aware of the potential dangers posed by the lanterns.

The warning follows a fire at a recycling plant in Smethwick, near Birmingham, which involved more than 200 firefighters, 13 of whom were injured.

The fire is believed to have been started by a Chinese lantern.

The airborne paper lanterns, made from rice paper on a bamboo frame, contain a small candle or fuel cell.

When lit, the flame heats the air inside the lantern, lowering its density and causing the lantern to rise into the air.

The lanterns stay airborne only as long as the flame stays alight after which the lantern floats back to the ground.

The fire service said that there was evidence of them causing fires, wasting police time, being mistaken for distress flares, misleading aircraft and killing livestock.

It added: “While these lanterns are undoubtedly a popular and beautiful sight, the potential damage they can cause is significant.”

Last year Hastings firefighters issued a warning about the dangers of celebrating with Chinese lanterns after a fire at Marine Court.

The fire started after a lantern drifted across from wedding celebrations on Hastings beach and became tangled in the security netting on scaffolding.

Earlier this year a quick-thinking boat owner averted a fire after a Chinese lantern landed on a yacht at Sovereign Harbour.

A nearby crew spotted the blazing lantern after it landed on the yacht’s sprayhood and managed to get the lantern off the boat before it caused any damage.


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