Fire chief calls for urgent Chinese lantern review after "devastating" fire

12:30pm Tuesday 3rd December 2013

By Neil Watts

A FIRE chief is calling for an urgent review of Chinese lanterns after a “devastating" fire destroyed more than 80 caravans at a festival site.

The blaze happened at Croft Farm Leisure Park, Bredons Hardwick, near Bredon, where the popular Lakefest Festival is held annually, on Sunday, November 24 Following a thorough fire investigation including interviews with eye witnesses and viewing CCTV footage, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service believes it was caused by a Chinese lantern and Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates is calling for change.

He 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.”

He added: “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 Fire and Rescue Service assisted at large fire in a plastic recycling site in Smethwick which was also caused by a sky lantern.”

Although firefighters stopped the fire from spreading to a 2,000 litre LPG storage vessel, the damage caused to the site and the towing caravans and mobile homes in storage was severe.

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