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Chief Fire Officer calls for review of Sky Lanterns

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The incident, on Sunday, November 24th at Croft Farm Leisure Park, Bredons Hardwick, Worcestershire, destroyed more than 80 towing caravans and mobile homes in storage. Although firefighters stopped the fire from spreading to a 2,000 litre LPG storage vessel, the damage caused to the site and the caravans was severe. Both HWFRS and Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service deployed a significant amount of fire engines to bring this blaze under control.

Following a thorough fire investigation including interviews with eye witnesses and viewing CCTV footage, HWFRS believes a Sky Lantern caused the fire.

Chief Fire Mark Yates said: “There is no doubt that this was a devastating fire which has affected a popular local business and a significant number of private caravans and mobile homes which were stored on site.”

“Our fire investigation has now concluded and we believe that a Sky Lantern caused the fire. Whilst there is no doubt the lanterns are popular and are often used at events, the potential damage they can cause is significant. Not only do they pose a risk to livestock and agriculture but also to property, as was the case in this incident in Bredons Hardwick.

“It is quite bizarre that it can be considered acceptable to allow a lit object to float across towns and countryside without any knowledge of if or where it may land and subsequently cause a fire. As a Chief Fire Officer I do not consider that it is acceptable to allow burning objects to be set free across our counties without any consideration of the damage they may do to property or livestock and I would ask event organisers not to use Sky Lanterns for any purpose.”

“I believe now is the time to review the use of Sky Lanterns and recognise that they can pose a significant risk to property as this fire in Worcestershire demonstrates. Only a few months ago fire engines from Hereford and Worcester FRS assisted at large fire in a plastic recycling site in Smethwick which was also caused by a Sky Lantern.”

Paul Fuller, President of the Chief Fire Officers Association, said: “Yet again, a Sky Lantern has been found to be the cause of a major fire, as they were in Smethwick in July. The potential damage that can be caused by these lanterns is significant, and we are asking people and event organisers to avoid using them.”

“We reiterate our call for an urgent review on the use of Sky Lanterns, to minimise the risk of them causing further major fires and damage.”