Lanterns under fire after blaze

Evesham Journal: The Croft Farm blaze. Pic by Rich Blake The Croft Farm blaze. Pic by Rich Blake

THE chief fire officer 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, venue for the popular Lakefest Festival, on Sunday, November 24.

After an investigation, including interviews with eyewitnesses and viewing CCTV footage, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service believes it was caused by a Chinese lantern.

Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates is calling for a review to prevent a repeat of the blaze at the business, which he called “devastating”.

He said: “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 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.”

The Chief Fire Officers Association is all also calling for an urgent review to minimise the risk of lanterns causing further fires.

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin has called for them to be banned and plans to raise the issue in parliament.

She said: “Sending a Chinese lantern into the air with no idea where it will land is like launching an unguided flamethrower into our beautiful countryside.”

Councillor Adrian Hardman, leader of Worcestershire County Council, moved to remind people that lanterns “are not toys and can have serious consequences for the county”.

The fire broke out at 12.45am and at its height 10 engines from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury and Cheltenham attended.

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.

Next year’s Lakefest Festival is still planned to go ahead on the site as usual.


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